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When I first started hearing about the war of Gog and Magog, primarily from the autistics, more than a decade ago, I got very caught up in trying to figure out which country was ‘Magog’ and who was ‘Gog’, their leader.

It’s George Dubbya!

It’s the US!

It’s Putin and Red Russia!

It’s the European Union!

It’s the UN!

And so on and so forth.

I was like that with everything a decade ago, thinking that all the apocalyptical events and dramatic upheavals, and wars being banded about were mamash just occurring in the physical world.

When you live in Israel, which averages a small war approximately every two years, (terrorist attacks not included) it’s easy to see why.

But a few years’ ago, I started to shift away from the ‘war on the outside’ model, to realize that the war being fought by the Jewish people today is 100% internal. Gog and Magog is taking place inside of us, inside of our homes, inside our relationships, inside our communities.

Gog and Magog is a spiritual war to clarify who is on Hashem’s side, and committed to God and His torah, and who isn’t. And things are so mixed-up today that just having a beard and a rabbinic ordination, or a long skirt and a reputation for being an excellent speaker on the ‘rent a rabbanit’ circuit doesn’t prove anything, in terms of who you’re really fighting for.

Two hundred years’ ago, Rebbe Nachman wrote what’s referred to as the ‘Secret Scroll’, a scroll written in code, that described in detail what would occur before Moshiach came. That scroll has been a closely guarded secret for years, but before he died a little while back, Rav Eliezer Schick, ZTL, wrote a little about the Scroll’s contents in his book, Paolot HaTzaddik.

(You can see the full excerpt HERE).

Rav Shick revealed that there would be a terrible ‘war’ prosecuted against the nation’s leading Tzaddikim, as part of the preparations for Geula.

He wrote (my translation):

“[T]he wars of Gog and Magog will include all the machloket (disagreements) and the accusations that will be made against the true Tzaddikim, those who uncover the true will of Hashem Yitborach.

“There are people who want to eat [these Tzaddikim] alive, and who say every forbidden thing against them, and mock them a lot. And by doing this, they greatly distance Jewish souls from coming near to them, and also lengthen the duration of our bitter exile.

“And they are the brazen-faced of the generation, the people with the face of a dog [RL note: these are both code words for the Erev Rav], the soldiers of Gog and Magog, who conceal the truth, and they are the wicked people of the generation…

“It’s written in the Midrash (BeMidbar Rabba, יח:י): ‘He who is brazen-faced, and who is not ashamed in front of those who are bigger than him, and he who is a baal machloket (troublemaker), you’ll see that he is the wickedest of the wicked.”

“And if I would have known, my dear brother, what was written in the Megillat Setorim regarding these soldiers of Gog and Magog, and the people who cover over the truth, I would have fallen on my face from fear and dismay, about how this bitter exile would be lengthened by them….

If you help the true Tzaddikim, then you will bring the geula closer, and you will merit to have all the good that has been set aside for the soldiers of the House of David. [Referring to Moshiach].”

What can we take from this?

Here’s the main points Rebbe Nachman, via Rav Schick, seems to be telling us about the true war of Gog and Magog:

  • It’s spiritual. We don’t need to look for the soldiers of Gog and Magog in Russia, or on the Syrian border, because really, they’re all around us, in our homes and communities.
  • The ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ are the people who mock our true Tzaddikim and Torah scholars, and who persecute them, libel them, speak falsehoods against them and generally do anything they can to ‘eat them alive’.
  • They conceal the truth – i.e., they don’t just make innocent mistakes or wrong assumptions, they go all-out to tell lies and fabrications, and deliberately bury the truth in a web of lies, mockery and deceit.
  • They make trouble for other people.
  • They aren’t ashamed to challenge people with more mitzvot, middot, learning, knowledge or experience – which covers pretty much everything that’s happening online, and in the world today generally, one way or another.
  • They are the ‘brazen-faced’ of the generation – which is always a scriptural ‘code-word’ for the Erev Rav. (My book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav, contains a lot more information and background supporting this point. You can buy it on Amazon, and also on the Book Depository.)

So now, what can we learn about the ‘soldiers of the House of David’, i.e. the good guys that are going to bring Moshiach and help Am Yisrael get redeemed via their struggles and efforts?

They help the true Tzaddikim.

In World War II, Switzerland liked to make a big show of its famous ‘neutrality’. Really, they were in the Germans’ back pocket, and were happy to stow away as much stolen wealth, artworks and museum pieces as the Germans could send them, in return for being left alone and not officially invaded.

World War II showed Switzerland’s true moral colors, despite all its posturing of impartiality and ‘not taking sides’, and they weren’t pretty.

Today, I think many of us are trying to follow the Swiss template in the war of Gog and Magog, and to sit on the sidelines keeping out of the action and continuing to live the good life, while our Tzaddikim and the other good people in our midst get taken out by the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’.

  • Like the soldier who killed a terrorist in Hevron, and got sent to prison for 9 years to show how ‘just’ Israel is to the rest of the world…
  • Like the IDF Rabbi who is being hounded in the press for correctly stating what halacha is, and correctly quoting the Torah…
  • Like Rav Berland, and others, who have been hounded, persecuted, chased and vilified for years, by people who are anti-Torah and anti-God.

You want to be Switzerland?

Go right ahead – I’m sure that wherever those Swiss bankers ended up, there’s always room for more people to join them.

But if you want to really bring Moshiach and the geula, then you’re going to have to fight for them.

You’re going to have to throw your hat in the ring with the ‘soldiers of King David’, and start sticking up for God and his Torah and his Tzaddikim, even when it’s really uncomfortable or scary to do that.

The Vilna Gaon famously wrote about the Erev Rav that we have to split off from them, and not follow their path and their ways. And that if someone didn’t manage to do that – i.e., they wanted to continue being ‘Switzerland’, spiritually – then it would be better for them if they’d never been born.

All week, we’ve been seeing the latest episode of ‘Gog and Magog’ playing out in the world. On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Dov Kook, Rav David Abuchatzeira and a bunch more Tzaddikim (both known and more ‘hidden’). On the other: the press, and the government, and the mocking, slanderous, emotionally-abusive people who like to jump in and comment on things they know nothing about.

I think it’s getting clearer and clearer which side is the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ and which side is the ‘soldiers of King David’.

And the war is still going on.

If you want Moshiach and redemption, help our true Tzaddikim! Get up and be counted. Don’t let the soldiers of Gog and Magog completely dominate the battlefield.

There’s big things at stake here. ‘Switzerland’ can’t exist in a world that’s only truth. But remember, the main weapon of a Jew is prayer. If it’s too scary to take on the crazy lunatics in the world, then at least start praying for the good guys to win, or give some tzedaka to the people who are waging the war on our behalf.

Start saying Tikkun HaKlali. Start talking to God every day. Start rooting out the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ that are hiding out inside every single one of us. Do your bit!

And if you – and me, and as many other people as possible out there in the world – do that, then good will win out sooner rather than later, Moshiach will come now, and the war of Gog and Magog will finally be over.

A couple of weeks’ back, my husband told me that he’d heard rumors that another massive prayer rally was being organized in Hevron for the 4th of July (this Monday night).

At that time, I was a little puzzled: things had been pretty quiet in Israel for a good few months already, since the last time Rav Berland asked for a prayer rally in Hevron.

The following day after that prayer rally, there was the huge terrorist attack in Belgium – but things in Israel suddenly (and miraculously….) quietened down.

And it stayed quiet for months. Until a couple of weeks’ back when Arab terrorists shot up the café in Tel Aviv, killing four people.

Hmm.

Last week, a last minute message went around that they were holding an impromptu prayer gathering at the Kotel ahead of Rav Berland’s court hearing in South Africa, which would have hopefully seen the Rav returning back to Eretz Yisrael, bringing geula with him (as stated by a number of tzadikim and kabbalists, including Rav Dovid Kook).

Hmm. That’s strange, I thought to myself.

Why have a prayer gathering now, plus another one next week in Hevron, after the hearing?

A few days’ later, things are already in much clearer focus. The South African judge refused to free Rav Berland – and that same day 13 year old Hallel was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist who broke into her home in Kiryat Arba and murdered her in her own bedroom.

You could literally feel the heaviness in the air after that news broke, because it was bad enough that it happened. More than bad enough. But what made it worse is that it felt like it’s all kicking off again.

A little later, there was another stabbing attack in Netanya, with two wounded.

Motzash, I found out the terrible news that there had been another shooting in the Har Hevron hills again, killing a father of 10 and badly wounding his wife, and also injuring two kids.

By this stage of the game, it seems like all we can do is pray for God to turn things around and have mercy on us, because it’s becoming clearer each day that the terror doesn’t stop because of anything the Government is doing to help us: it’s all spiritual.

When Am Yisrael makes more collective teshuva, the terror stops. When we backslide, it starts again.

The point is, that this time last week I really had no idea why Berland had called for a prayer rally tomorrow in Hevron. I mean, the terrorism stopped! It’s been quiet for months! Who’s going to show up, Monday? These were all the things that I thought.

Now, I can see yet again how the real Tzaddikim in our midst can literally predict the future. It seems obvious that Rav Berland knew that the terrorism was going to start again, and he prepared the ‘balm’ – i.e. the prayer rally – before the blow.

This whole year it’s been unchartered waters. On the one hand, the stage seemed set for Moshiach to show up at the beginning of the year. But as the days have turned into weeks and then months, and things don’t seem to have changed it’s hard to know what’s going on, or even to guess about what’s around the corner.

At least, for me.

But not for the first time, the events of the last few days have proven yet again that when you’re a Tzaddik of Rav Berland’s calibre, you really can predict the future. Just as the Rav stated there would be a third intifada when everything was quiet – and no-one listened – seems he knew the Arab violence would flare up again this week, too.

When someone has the sort of track record for accurately predicting the future that Rav Berland has, maybe we should start to listen him about other things, too? Like the fact that Moshiach is only going to come when we actually stop obsessing over things like Nibiru and start to focus on clearing up our bad middot instead?

Or, that the only reason he had to go into exile in such shameful circumstances was because there was an outstanding Heavenly decree giving Iran permission to nuke Eretz Yisrael, unless something was done pronto to change it?

Rav Berland left more than three years’ ago now.

Many people, including some of our leading kabbalists, have been telling us for more than year that Iran already has a nuclear weapon. Have you stopped to ask yourself what’s preventing them from using it, or why Iran’s nuclear bomb has stopped making front-page news recently, when it’s been a staple feature of Israeli news for the last decade or so?

Have you wondered WHY the arabs stopped trying to stab us for a few months, or why they haven’t started blowing up buses again, or using their tunnels, or sending rockets over from Gaza and Lebanon again?

What’s stopping them?

If you think it’s something the government or the army is doing, then you clearly don’t live in Israel.

Doesn’t it strike you as weird that the very same day the Rav’s return to Israel got pushed off again, the Arab terrorism kicked off again?

Our teshuva (or lack of it…)  is what’s making all the difference, together with the mesirut Nefesh of our Tzaddikim, like Rav Berland, who has been sitting in a dregs-of-the-earth prison in South Africa for the last three months just to atone for our sins, while people who should know better continue to slander him all over the internet.

It’s a strange world we live in, that when autistic Jews start predicting the end of the world and ‘death stars’ that we all sit up and listen, and give them maximum respect and attention. But that when a Gadol HaDor tells us that our lack of Teshuva, and the terrible things we’re doing online, is bringing down one harsh decree after another, forcing him into exile to try and fix the problem – no-one wants to know.

Waiiiit a minute: this man isn’t autistic!!! How could he possibly be able to predict the future just by learning Torah 24/7, sacrificing himself repeatedly for Am Yisrael, and taking on all sorts of terrible things upon himself, including being falsely accused and slandered all over the world?

But at this stage, Rav Berland’s track record is so much more compelling than the autistics, and also much more hopeful: Do Teshuva, and everything will turn out fine. And Teshuva doesn’t have to be a big deal, even: just look for the good in yourself and others, stop speaking badly about people, and instead, start talking to God every day.

And that way, Nibiru will stop being a problem. The Arabs will stop killing Jews. And we’ll finally get what we’re telling everyone we really want:

Moshiach, redemption and an end to the madness.

Before Rav Berland left on his self-imposed exile more than three year’s ago, while he was still living for a while in Beitar Illit, someone asked him in one of his classes to explain the saying of Chazal that:

Moshiach is only going to come when the whole generation is either worthy, or unworthy.

The obvious question is how can this be?! After all, we all know people who are not so worthy, so clearly the ‘100% worthy’ option isn’t happening right now. At the same time, if the whole generation was unworthy there’s a good chance that Hashem would decide just to pull the plug on the whole of humanity again, like He did with Noah’s flood.

So clearly, something else is going on here.

Rav Berland explained that in the time before Moshiach, the main test would be for people to choose the path of kedusha, and to follow after God – or the opposite, God forbid.

But they weren’t going to be able to continue to sit on the fence and to play both sides of the game anymore.

Rav Berland explained that it’s the same test that occurred when Elijah the Prophet famously challenged the prophets of Ba-al to a show-down, on Mount Carmel. At that time in history, it’s not that the Jewish people didn’t believe in God, exactly, because they did, at least in theory. The problem was that they didn’t believe in God enough to stop trying to hedge their bets for health and wealth by also worshipping the Ba’al.

There was just one problem with this approach: God Himself hates idol-worship, defined as ‘having other gods’ that you believe can give you good health, a new house, a fat bank account, or even, more children.

As we learned from all the hoo-ha with yoga, it’s all too easy to fall into a mindset of believing that God is out there ‘somewhere’, but that you have to follow other methods and practices and belief systems to really achieve the outcomes you want in life, whilst cutting God completely out of the picture.

Judaism says: you’re sick because God made you sick, and you’ll feel better again once you make Teshuva and repair that spiritual breach. Idol-worship says: Forget all about God and repairing your soul, just take this pill / pull this pose / eat this green stuff, and all your health problems will vanish by themselves!

And often, they do.

That’s why it’s often so hard to follow whole-heartedly after God, because, well Ba’al worship really pays off, man!

So, that’s why Elijah the Prophet came along to challenge his generation to finally pick a side. He let the prophets of Ba’al arrange their sacrifice first, and gave them the best part of the day to encourage their ‘god’ to send down the fire that was going to burn it up.

“Yell louder!” He told them. “Maybe he’s sleeping, or he stepped outside for a wee!”

Of course, the prophets of Ba’al weren’t going to give up that easily. They’d hidden a man inside their sacrifice who was willing to immolate himself to ‘prove’ that the Ba’al existed, by lighting a secret fire. Unfortunately for them, God killed the man off somehow (I think he got bitten by something poisonous) before he could strike his flint and tinder.

So then, it was Elijah the Prophet’s turn. He arranges his sacrifice on the pyre, he asks for it to be completely drenched in water three times, and then he prays. Man, did his prayer get answered! Whoosh, the whole thing went up in such an impressive display of Heavenly firepower that the whole congregation fell on their face, and exclaimed: ‘Hashem, He IS God!!’

Like, duh.

Elijah turned to the Children of Israel, and asked them:

How long are you going to continue to dance between two camps? If the Ba’al is god, then worship it wholeheartedly. But if Hashem is God – then worship Him wholeheartedly, and stop sitting on the fence!

And according to Rav Berland, that’s the same test that we face today, the test of knowing that God is all there is.

It’s not the doctors or the yoga poses that keep us healthy or cure us – it’s God.

It’s not the politicians or the army that keeps us safe and protected from our enemies – it’s God.

It’s not the long hours we put into our jobs, or the huge amount of sucking up to the boss that pays our mortgage – it’s God.

When people really believe in God wholeheartedly, they act SO differently from what passes for ‘normal’ these days, even in the religious world. For a start, they really talk to Him. And they believe in miracles. And they stop obsessing over every little detail, and stop trying to control every tiny aspect of their lives.

They definitely ditch their yoga, and their bad middot, and their unsavory habits. They give 10% of their income to charity, even when it’s hard. They treat their kids nicely.

I could go on and on, but the point is this: there is no more sitting on the fence. There is no more staying in the middle. Ambiguous is OVER, as the recent Brexit fiasco just underlined every so dramatically.

Either we’re with God, or we’re not.

That’s the final test before Moshiach, and it’s one that each of us really needs to pray that we’re going to pass.

Front cover of one in a generation Volume 1, biography of Rabbi Berland

It’s time for setting the record straight Rav Eliezer Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia.

With all the talk of Rav Berland’s imminent return to the Holy Land, the slanderous talk, or lashon hara has unfortunately also returned with a vengeance.

In some ways, I can understand what’s going on. In this world where the media is feeding us lies and half-truths 24/7 about absolutely everything, you can kinda understand why it’s so hard for people to accept that the media tells lots of lies about lots of things, lots of times.

The media is controlled by powerful people in the world, and every single one of those powerful people has a personal agenda, and a set of vested interests, and a view of the world that they want to disseminate to the masses.

That’s a fact.

And the media in Israel is no different from the media anywhere else in the world, and you could even argue that the biases, personal opinions and vested interests are even bigger here than elsewhere.

The point is this:

In 2016, no thinking person who is interested in the truth should automatically take anything reported in the press at face value, before checking and rechecking what they’re being told.

Which brings us on to the subject of this particular post, inspired by a phone call from a friend of mine who was still struggling to believe that the media actually tells lies, or that there are powerful figures in Israel who are so against orthodox Judaism, they are willing to stoop to the lowest of levels to smear some of our biggest Tzadikim, including Eliezer ben Etia, aka Rabbi Berland.

Again, in some ways I can understand the problem: God has created the world so that the forces of good and evil are always evenly balanced, in some way. What that means in this instance is that for every ‘good’ holy Rabbi who’s being framed and persecuted for political reasons, there’s at least one ‘bad’ unholy so-called Rabbi who truly is guilty of the most appalling deeds.

So how can we know who is who, or what we’re really dealing with: an appalling miscarriage of justice, or the rightful prosecution of terrible crimes?

That’s’ what I hope to share with you, in this post. It’s going to be pretty long, as I also want to bring snippets and quotes from other places to provide enough background, context and additional information for you to start seeing the huge holes in the web of lies that has been woven around Rav Berland.

1: Who is Rav Berland (aka Eliezer ben Etia)?

Many people, especially in the English-speaking world, only heard about Rav Berland three years’ ago, when he hit the headlines. But in Israel, Rav Berland has been known as a superlative Torah scholar, devoted communal leader, and holy Rabbi for 60 years’, already.

In his early years in Bnei Brak, he had a chavruta with no less a personage than the Steipler Gaon, and he was marked for greatness in the more mainstream Yeshiva world, before he discovered the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, and forged a new path in Breslev Chassidut.

You can read more about Rav Berland’s early years and impeccable Torah credentials here:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2014/05/11/how-rabbi-eliezer-berland-came-to-breslov-translated-from-the-hebrew-knishta-chada-journal/

In the 1970s, Rav Berland started a fledgling baal Teshuva movement that attracted many secular Israelis to start to explore and learn about their religious background. This was back before the baal Teshuva movement was popular, and those early figures who started reaching out to less religious people were treated with a great deal of suspicion and hostility by certain elements in the mainstream ‘frum’ world.

But that didn’t deter Rav Berland, and he slowly but surely started to build a yeshiva and community for baal teshuvas that included such modern-day luminaries as Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Ofer Erez, and Rav Tzanani, plus many, many others – before they got ‘frum’.

You read more about the early beginnings of Shuvu Banim, Rav Berland’s yeshiva and organization, HERE.

Over the years, Rav Berland forged very warm ties with many religious leaders, across the whole spectrum of Jewish society, many of whom praised him in the highest of terms.

TO SUM THIS PART UP:

Rav Berland was a Torah prodigy, and was recognized as being a superlatively holy, spiritual person from a very young age, by some of the leading figures in the religious world, including the Steipler Gaon.

He gave up all that prestige and potential honor to follow his heart towards the path of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, at a time when the frum world considered Breslev to be only for bona fide ‘crazy’ people.

A few years’ later, he again went against the tide of prevailing attitudes and frum public opinion to open a yeshiva for baalei Teshuva, and devoted his life to trying to bring more people closer to Yiddishkeit, and Rebbe Nachman. At times, his work necessitated huge amounts of self-sacrifice on behalf of his students, many of whom will happily tell you their own stories of how much Rav Berland put himself out on their behalf.

So far, this doesn’t sound like a person who’s got an abusive ‘power’ complex going on, does it?

So now, we’re starting to get into the meat of this post.

Eliezer ben Etia, and The Deal

Anyone who regularly reads ‘geula’ blogs, or the posts by the autistics will know that many figures in the Jewish world have been predicting terrible things for the Jewish people for the last decade or so.

But so far, thank God, those predictions have come to naught, despite all the wars, terrorism and intrigue Israel and the world has been caught up in. So what happened?

It’s now common knowledge among many in the Hebrew-speaking frum world that some years’ ago, there was a meeting of the three biggest Tzadikim in the country: The Baba Elazar, Rav Eliezer Berland, and the generation’s leading kabbalist (whose identify I’m not revealing out of respect to him – you’ll see why in a moment.)

These three giants each agreed to take some terrible form of suffering upon themselves, to atone for the sins of Am Yisrael, and let us have the geula the sweet way, without the terrible wars, deaths and suffering that would otherwise be required.

The Baba Elazar took it upon himself to be killed al kidush Hashem – and that’s what occurred a little while later, when he was shockingly stabbed to death in his own waiting room.

Rabbis agree: The Baba Elazar’s death saved Am Yisrael from harsh decrees

The Kabbalist took it upon himself to be exiled from Eretz Yisrael.

And Rav Berland took it upon himself to be slandered so terribly, that he would lose his good name (which is also akin to being ‘murdered’, in many ways.)

For some reason, the Kabbalist left Israel – but couldn’t cope with the ordeal of going into exile, and was forced to return. Undaunted, Rav Berland took on BOTH decrees: the decree of losing his good name, and also the decree of exile.

Years before he actually fled the country, Rav Berland was hinting to his students (and even telling them outright) that he would have to leave the country for an extended period of time, and that he would be persecuted for a number of years, in order to atone for Am Yisrael.

So many of his students heard him say this first-hand, that when it actually came to pass some years’ later, they already knew what was happening and why. This is one of the main reasons why Rav Berland’s own community have been 100% rock-solid behind him, the last three years.

The Rav’s ‘escape’ from Israel

If we next look at the truly bizarre course Rav Berland’s ‘prosecution’ has taken, we’ll also start to recognize that the whole situation is completely abnormal. For many weeks after the ‘news’ broke, the Rav left his home in Jerusalem, and was living in Beitar Illit, where he gave shiurim to hundreds of people, and received many, many visitors.

The Israeli authorities didn’t arrest him. Why not?

And why, if Rav Berland was simply a fugitive trying to escape justice, did he tell hundreds and even thousands of people where he was going?

If you take a moment to think about these questions, you’ll already start to see that the picture being painted in the media of Rav Berland doesn’t add up.

Later on, when the Rav left the country to go to Africa (again, HOW did he manage to escape being arrested at the airport, if he wasn’t receiving Divine assistance?) – we saw the same pattern again.

Within hours of him landing in Morocco, in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in Holland, in South America, hundreds of people had been explicitly told about where he was staying and how to get messages to him, and even, how to fly out to meet him.

Again, does this sound like someone who is a) fearful of the authorities or b) simply trying to escape being brought to justice?

OR, does this sound like someone who knows he has a job to do, but also knows the parameters of that ‘job’ have been predetermined by Hashem, and who is determined to carry on serving Hashem, and his community, to the best of his ability?

When Rav Berland ‘disappeared’ from Holland – despite being under police guard – that was one of the clearest signs that he was still enjoying Divine favor, and able to pull off some out and out miracles.

When people truly are guilty of the terrible crimes being slanderously attributed to Rav Berland, they are very far away from God. God doesn’t do open miracles for people like that.

Throughout his three year exile, Rav Berland has continued to work miracles for literally hundreds of people, and you can hear many of their stories first-hand on the Knishta Hada hotline (mostly in Hebrew).

The reaction of other Tzadikim

As mentioned, there are unfortunately many scandals in the orthodox world, just as there are in every segment of society these days. Many years’ ago, I worked as a journalist on a Jewish paper, and I experienced my fair share of ‘bent’ Rabbis and the fall-out that came along with them.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had more recent experiences of very damaged individuals who are pretending to be Tzadikim. We live in a very mixed-up world, and not everyone who is a ‘Rabbi’ is a good, upright person.

BUT – when these ‘fake’ Rabbis are revealed for who and what they truly are, their support – especially amongst other religious leaders – usually dries up very fast. And even if they do continue to receive support, it’ll be ‘behind the scenes’ as opposed to being given in a public or open way. (It’s a separate post, but it’s useful to mention here that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – true Rabbonim are normally connected to other true Rabbonim, and the reverse is unfortunately also true.)

Even after Rav Berland was publicly accused and went into exile,

ELIEZER BEN ETIA HAS ENJOYED UNWAVERING SUPPORT FROM SOME OF THE BIGGEST TRUE TZADIKIM IN THE COUNTRY.

Again, this point cannot be overstated. Tzadikim like Rav Shalom Arush, or Rabbi David Abuchatzeira, are at such a level of holiness that they can literally see straight through into a person’s Neshama.

They know if a person is telling the truth or lying, if they’re truly as good as they look, or not. Both of these Tzadikim – plus many, many more, including Rav David Kook in Tiveria, Rav Matityahu Glazerson, the Milkman plus Rav Elazar Mordechai Menser, have come out firmly in support of Rav Berland.

If he was truly guilty of the crimes he’s being accused of, this simply wouldn’t be the case.

Below, I’m bringing some of the more recent statements from these huge Rabbis, in defense of Rav Berland:

Click HERE to download an English Translation of the Knishta Hada newsletter put out by Shuvu Banim, that has many, many quotes from leading rabbis in defense of Rav Berland.

Plus some of the latest:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2016/05/28/rav-moshe-tzanani-the-sitra-achra-knows-that-all-of-the-redemption-depends-on-rav-berland-and-thats-why-hes-making-all-of-these-terrible-tests/

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2016/02/02/watch-rabbi-matisyahu-glazerson-read-chief-rabbi-of-israel-yitzchak-yosefs-letter-requesting-diaspora-jews-to-host-and-accept-rabbi-berland-and-shuvu-banim/

http://shiratdevorah.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/his-return-will-usher-in-redemption.html – Rav Kook speaking about Rav Berland’s return to Israel

http://rabbieliezerberland.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/listen-to-words-of-rav-aaron-boymil-all.html – ‘All the Gedolim are praying for Rav Berland’

“Don’t think that only Anshei Shlomeinu in Breslov are praying for Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita.  All of the bigAdmorimRabonim, and Tsadikim from the whole world are praying for the Rav, Shlita

“From Rav Shteinman to the Belz Admor, to the Gur Rebbe until Rav Kanievsky, everyone is praying for Rav Berland, Shlita, and are always interested in what is happening with him.  The gabbai of Rebbe David Abuchatzera, Shlita, called me personally last week and told me that the Rebbe wanted to know what’s happening with Rav Eliezer Berland,Shlita

“The house of Rav Shteinman called and wants to know what’s happening with HaRav.  The son of the Belz Rebbe himself called me to find out what’s going on with the Rav and said that his father wants to know.  It’s not that Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita, is alone in the world and only his chassidim are the ones that care about him. 

“All the Gedolim of Israel from the whole world care about the Rav and are praying for him.”

If you’re casting aspersions against Rav Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, then you’re also casting aspersion against all of these Torah giants.

This is really the crux of the issue. There is no ‘middle way’ with Rav Berland and his Rabbinic supporters. Either, they are all huge Tzadikim that know something the rest of us don’t, OR they are all swindlers trying to deceive Am Yisrael.

I can only speak for myself, but my husband studies at Rav Arush’s yeshiva every day. We’ve seen Rav Arush in a number of situations, both our own and other people’s, and Rav Arush is 100% the real deal.

Ditto for Rav Ofer Erez, another one of Rav Berland’s old-time pupils and a staunch public defender of the Rav.

Who can dare to question the integrity of people like Rav Arush? Or Rav David Abuchatzeira? Or Rav Kook? Or the hundreds of other leading religious figures who have come out publicly in support of Rav Berland?

But that’s exactly what’s happening every time someone entertains the doubt that somehow, these Rabbonim either don’t know what they’re talking about, when it comes to Rav Berland, or that they’re also somehow ‘in’ on the whole thing.

“But why would people lie, like that?”

To people who live outside of Israel, it might seem strange that the people in authority here would view an elderly Rav like Rav Berland as being as big a threat as Hamas or ISIS. But when you live here – and you don’t believe everything you read in the media as being the gospel truth – it’s very easy to see how there is a whole swathe of the ruling elite who positively loathe religious people.

And religious people who are making more Jews religious, like them, are public enemy number one.

Why?

Because religious Jews aren’t going to vote for that ruling elite. And religious Jews have big families, which means they are going to ‘take over’ the country and turn it into Jewish Iran. And religious Jews (generally…) don’t believe in diplomacy, and land-for-peace, and ‘anything for an easy life’.

In the last 20 years, the baal Teshuva scene in Israel has exploded. That’s a very worrying trend for the ‘powers that be’, and they are very happy to do whatever they can to discredit Yiddishkeit, and its leaders, in any way they can.

Rav Berland is by no means the only Rav who’s recently been falsely persecuted by the authorities, and I highly recommend you go and research this issue for yourself.

In case you’re still in doubt, this link will take you to the story of the secular chief of police who was given the ‘job’ of framing Rav Berland. He came to Rav Arush in tears a few months’ back, wanting to know how he could fix his sin, because since then he’s gone through a divorce, been involved in a number or serious accidents, and has seen his life implode.

Click HERE to read that story for yourself, and hear the recording.

Rav Berland’s prophetic powers

Last but not least, I just wanted to mention that Rav Berland predicted the current intifada many months before it began, and has successfully been ‘ahead of the curve’ in a number of ways, even while in exile.

Read what Rav Berland said about the present Intifada a year before it began

The people around the Rav have experienced many ongoing open miracles, including recently when the South African police came to arrest the Rav, turned his hotel complex upside down looking for him, but apparently couldn’t ‘see’ him as he walked down the stairs straight in front of them, and left the building.

Hundreds of other people saw the Rav leave, only the South African police couldn’t see him….

This is the same point I made earlier: God doesn’t do open miracles like this for people who are guilty of the crimes that Rav Berland is accused of.

If you want to read more true, first-hand miracle stories about the Rav, which have happened since he left Israel, I highly recommend you pay a visit to his website, and particularly the following links:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2015/10/28/another-miracle-story-about-rabbi-berland-that-we-just-recieved/

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2015/07/30/story-in-which-rabbi-berland-saves-troubled-individuals-in-holland/

TO SUM UP:

We live in very confused upside-down times. It’s impossible for us to know who to trust, or who to believe, if we’re not talking to God every single day.

If we talk to God every day and ask Him to help us, He will clue us in about who the hypocrites in our midst truly are – and there are many of them, at all levels of religious and non-religious Jewish society.

But that’s not the only way we can know what’s true.

If we have a Rav ourselves that we KNOW is the real deal, 100%, kosher (and again, if you’re not doing hitbodedut every single day, I wouldn’t rate your chances of being able to actually know that with any certainty) – and that Rav is 100% behind Rav Berland, dayenu.

Because only someone who’s 100% connected to God can tell if someone else is 100% connected to God, which is where our emunat tzadikim really comes in.

You don’t have to believe me, because I’m nothing and no-one.

BUT – to not believe Rav Arush? To not believe Rav Kook? To not believe Rav David Abuchatzeira?

That’s a huge problem, spiritually-speaking.

So let’s end our defense of Rav Berland with this:

  • Don’t believe everything you’re told by the media.
  • Check into everything yourself – and if you don’t have firsthand evidence, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Click on the links you’ve been given here, to help you fill out more of the picture
  • Ask yourself if so many of our most holy Tzadikim would really risk their souls and reputations to publicly come out in defense of someone who was guilty of what Rav Berland has been falsely accused of.
  • Think about whether you can honestly say that you know more about what’s going on than these holy Rabbis do – many of whom spent years learning with Rav Berland, many of whom are clearly the holy of holies in their own right, and many of whom are the most straight, upright, humble and tznius people you could ever hope to meet – about what’s really going on with Rav Berland.
  • Ask yourself if God would continually do so many open miracles – both personally and communally – for a person accused of what Rav Berland has been accused for.
  • For a deeper spiritual understanding of what’s really going on with Rav Berland, read THIS.

And then, pick your side.

On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Arush, Rav Kook and Rav Abuchatzeira et al.

On the other side: A bunch of low-life politicians, bent policemen, slanderous journalists and I don’t know who else.

There is no middle ground with this issue.

So, who’s side do YOU want to be on, when Moshiach shows up?

You can buy the biography about Rav Eliezer Berland, (Eliezer ben Etia) One in a Generation Volume 1, on Amazon, and on the Book Depository. Buy Volume 2 HERE.

UPDATE:

Today (June 3) is the day of Yesod she be Yesod in the counting of the Omer, or ‘foundation focusing on foundation’, or ‘sense of purpose focusing on sense of purpose’.

Yesterday, I got a phone call asking me if I’d heard any more about Rav Berland’s imminent arrival back in Israel. I hadn’t, but I sent my husband off to yeshiva to find out from his source if there was any more news.

Then, I did the usual trip around some of the geula blogs to see if anyone had anything about the Rav’s return. There was a post over on Shirat Devorah (see HERE) with a clip from Rav Dovid Kook, the kabbalist in Tiveria, explaining how Rav Berland’s return to Israel is going to usher in the redemption.

I so hope that’s the case.

This counting the Omer has been such an intense time, that maybe, just maybe, geula really is around the corner.

I hope that by the time you read this, today, Rav Berland WILL be back home, and that things WILL be proceeding geula-wise, the sweet way. Because today is ‘foundation of foundation’, and the biggest tzadikim are said to be the ‘foundation of the world’, so it would be very fitting if today was the day Rav Berland returned.

(BTW – if you haven’t yet paid your 98 nis monthly protection pidyon from terrorists, please go HERE to do that ASAP. Even if geula comes the sweet way, there’s still going to be quite a rough ride involved, at least in parts, until we really finish the process.)

As for me, I’m spiritually exhausted at the moment.

Every day since Rosh Chodesh Nissan has brought its own trials and tribulations, and ‘middot  growth opportunities’.  It seems to me that God is dealing out a whole bunch of last chances to people, to take their blinkers off and finally see what’s going down in their lives.

It’s like there’s all this spiritual light coming down into the world ahead of Moshiach, but wherever it hits a ‘blockage’, it’s causing a lot of pain and drama and anxiety. Clear the blockage (which is usually related to working on a bad character trait, or a weak connection to Hashem) – and the light can pass through your life easily again, giving everything a rosy, warm glow.

Don’t clear the blockage (which is what I’m still seeing SO many people do) – and you literally start to crack-up and go insane.

Thus it is that the problems are spiraling up out of control, the negative character traits are coming to the fore like never before, and the health issues are plummeting to greater depths.

Why?

Hashem gave us a clue as to why this is all happening in last week’s parsha, where we learned of the many curses that would befall Am Yisrael if they related to God ‘casually’. That’s an interesting word, isn’t it?

What does it mean to relate to God casually? Maybe, it means that we don’t even take God into account, and pretend like everything that happens is completely random and down to chance. Maybe, it means that even though we profess to be believing Jews, we still don’t want to admit that God is behind every tiny thing that’s going on in our lives, so we make big speeches about ‘how it’s impossible to know what God wants’, etc, or how ‘everyone has their troubles’, so we don’t need to be too fussed to try to work out WHY God is making us sick, or poor, or miserable.

Maybe, it means that we relate to God like a lifestyle choice, something to boost our energy and give us a high, like a good workout or spinach smoothie, just somehow better.

Or maybe, we talk about how God is going to do a whole bunch of things to everyone else, leaving us to blog contentedly about the destruction of the world that somehow isn’t going to affect us.

God wants us to put Him first, even when it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable and difficult. He wants us to explore every little thing that happens to us from a place of understanding that it’s part of the meaningful dialogue Hashem is trying to have with us, about what we need to acknowledge, work on, or fix, in some way.

To put it another way, we’re back to Rav Arush’s three rules of emuna, namely:

  • Hashem is doing everything in the world
  • Everything Hashem does is for the ultimate good
  • Everything is a message

Those three rules of emuna make every tiny thing that happens to us meaningful and important; the exact opposite of casual and insignificant.

God says: ‘You want to pretend like those kidney stones are just a fluke, and nothing to do with all your bad habits and character traits? Here, try this additional debilitating illness on for size!!’

And:

“You want to pretend that you’re hitting the skids financially just because of the economic downturn!? Here, I’m going to cut every source of income you have off from you, until you finally get the message that you need to start treating your wife (the pipe of all abundance in the home) better!”

And so on, and so forth. ‘A fury of casualness’ – a maelstrom of horrible illnesses, difficult experiences, poverty and ill-health, until we finally wake up and realize that none of it was ‘casual’ or ‘random’, and everything right from the start was God.

The last few weeks, I’ve had so many messages that despite all the hard work I’ve done the last few years, THERE ARE STILL THINGS THAT NEED SOME WORK, PRONTO!

Like anger. And resentment. And rage. And hatred.

(Viz: My husband discovered that the person who damaged the windscreen wiper on our brand new car was a neighbor who hates people parking in ‘his’ spot. I was so worked up when he told me I started fantasizing about spilling a box of tacks behind the neighbor’s front wheels etc. Then, I woke up and realized this! This horrible character trait is what God is telling me needs some work! Duh!)

So God has been giving me that work to do in spades, the last few weeks. IF Rav Berland makes it back today, BH, and if the geula kicks off as predicted by Rav Kook – well then, that all makes sense.

And if not?

I guess God is fast-tracking my Teshuva and character development for some other good reason, only known to Him. And I guess that’s OK, too.

Since a few weeks’ before Pesach, I’ve been feeling pretty strange.

Yes, Pesach was very hectic this year, with lots of family coming out to Israel. Yes, I got hit with the ‘mystery’ illness that kept me feeling exhausted and out of it for around a month. Yes, my kids are both pretty unsettled in their schools, my husband is still pretty unsettled in his career, and I’m still trying to work out what I want to do when I grow up.

All these things are really just variations on a theme that has been reoccurring periodically in my life for decades: that feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing with myself, and that my life feels a bit empty and purposeless.

I’ve tried to fill that space with writing, with books, with classes, with praying, with working like a dog, with holidays, with exercising like a crazy person (many years’ ago, now…) and occasionally, even with cleaning my toilet.

Sometimes they work, more as a distraction than anything else. Usually, I have to go and do some big prayer-a-thon to get underneath the icky feeling and just reconnect back to myself, and then back to God. And THAT’s when I get some relief and some clarity and some inner peace.

(If you’re wondering, I often have to do a longer hitbodedut every week, to keep on top of the empty, pointless feeling that can swirl around me not infrequently.)

But given all that, this period of time still feels different from the usual meaningless / pointless / confused / frustrated feelings I get.

I don’t know about you, but this period of counting the Omer has been pretty intense so far. Every day seems to bring its fair share of deep, introspective work, and insights. I’ve been getting intense dreams, experiencing some weird things, and God has sent me some huge messages about what I need to work on and fix, still.

Like, I had one dream involving people I hadn’t spoken to for years, already, which made me realize I was still pretty upset at them and harbouring a huge grudge. Who knew?

Or, I had a conversation with one of my kids that left me literally gasping for breath. She mentioned something nonchalantly, like kids do, and I suddenly lost my voice and couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.

Gosh, clearly some deep, internal button had been pressed.

Who knew that stuff was still so tightly-wired up inside, and reactive?

So since Pesach has ended (and really, even before it began) I’ve been caught up in a bit of an internal maelstrom, where I know God is expecting big things of me, but I’m still finding it hard to really identify them, or give Him what I think He wants.

And it’s intense.

Do you know that Rav Eliezer Berland is in prison in South Africa, and has been kept there for over a month, already? Do you know what terrible trials and difficulties he’s going through?

Part of me feels that it’s only right that my life should feel so intense and unstable at the moment, because how can a huge Tzaddik like this be suffering so much, and we just sit here carrying on, business as usual?

In fact, the situation with Rav Berland is what makes me think, more than anything else, that this period of time is unusual, even though parts of it feel all-too-familiar. Things are getting shaken up. Things are getting broken down. Things are changing.

In which way, and what that means, I have no idea. I hope it’s going to lead to Moshiach and the temple, peacefully. But it feels like we’re definitely entering unchartered waters in some way at the moment, at least to me. And without my hitbodedut to keep me afloat, I think I probably would have sunk under all the pressure and intensity a long time ago.

Is it just me, or does the world feel pretty darned tense at the moment?

On the surface, not a lot is apparently going on (at least, according to the main news sites – and what do they know anyway?!)

But everyone I’m talking to right now seems to be having their own flavor of mega-stress going on. I felt like I got hit by some sort of tsunami last week, that had me off-balance and feeling half-panicked the whole time. This week, it’s already much better again, but that’s probably not least because I did a big 6 hour session of personal prayer again over the weekend, and that always works wonders (and is probably the single biggest reason why I’m not an inpatient at some loonie bin, somewhere.)

But I can see that the pressure is mounting, so I want to tell you about a few things that I think will help:

  • There is a huge prayer rally being called for Tuesday night, the Fast of Esther, in Mearat HaMachpela, in Hevron. They are literally bussing people in from all over the country for this event, which has come down the tube from Rav Berland.

(I know some people still feel a little uneasy when I mention Rav Berland, so this is the time to tell them that the chief of police who manufactured the charges against him recently went to Rav Arush, and publicly confessed what he did, because his life has been going from bad to worse as a result of the false claims he manufactured against Rav Berland, and he wanted to know how he could fix it.

Rav Arush told him that he has to come clean and tell everyone what he was involved with. The man is scared of reprisals from his superiors, but my guess is that the reprisals from his real ‘Superior’ will get so difficult, sooner or later even the Jerusalem Post will be reporting the story.)

Rav Berland predicted the current Intifada we’re going through many months before it began.

Part of why he’s wondering around the world in exile is because he took it upon himself to sweeten the very harsh judgments hanging over Am Israel. He, and many other of the real rabbis, have done so much to minimize them – but we still have our part to play, and that’s what the prayer rally is all about.

You can join one of the buses heading to Hevron Tuesday night HERE.

  • Still with Rav Berland, he recently made an announcement that the health and safety of anyone who is willing to pay a pidyon nefesh of 98 shekels a month for their family to Shuvu Banim doesn’t have to worry about getting caught up in any terrorist attacks.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the deal of the century to me. A few months’ back, I sent in a different pidyon to the Rav about a health issue that had been troubling me for literally years – and BH, from the day I sent the request in to him (never mind, actually pay the money) the situation has been improving all the time.

Rav Berland is a huge tzaddik, and the real deal, so if he says ‘I guarantee your safety if you pay this pidyon’, then you can believe him.

  • The last thing to share with you comes from Rav Shalom Arush, who on Shabbat mentioned that Purim is the most auspicious time to pray of the whole year. Rav Arush explained that usually, he just tells people to say ‘thank you’ and to not request things, as that can stir up some big spiritual judgments and make things even more difficult for them.

But on Purim, there are no judgments! So he told everyone to pray as much as they can, and to ask Hashem for whatever they need. Usually, midnight (chatzot) is the best time of all to do this, but whatever time you manage to squeeze some personal prayer in, Purim is the day to do it.

Things are turning around, somehow. But I still have no idea if the hurricane is ending, or just beginning.

And how to spot a real one…

There are many things that I loved about Rav Trugman’s latest book, ‘Prophecy and Divine Inspiration’, but one of my favourites was his discussion about false prophets – because in this time of geula blog madness, it’s still very much a ‘live’ issue.

After the last round of terrible, blood-curdling predictions on one side, and reassuring if concerned statements from our true Tzadikim that the situation is indeed grave, but that teshuva, tefilla and tzedaka can still sweeten everything, I decided that we could probably all need some help, to work out which modern-day ‘prophets’ are actually the real deal, and worth listening to.

Enter Rav Trugman. In the chapter on clarifying prophecy and Divine inspiration, he brings down the Rambam’s pre-requisites for someone claiming prophecy to even get past the starting gate.

According to the Rambam, an individual needs to have the following qualities in order to qualify as a ‘potential true prophet’:

  1. Deep wisdom
  2. Broad-minded knowledge
  3. The ability to be in control of his or her physical urges, as well as to be unaffected by the vanities of the material world.
  4. The prophet-in-waiting has to be involved in holy pursuits at all times.

Rav Trugman also explains that the Rambam says that a prophet has to prepare themselves carefully to receive the flow of Divine information, and that they have to be in a state of absolute joy. “Prophecy does not come to one who is sad or lazy.”

That’s a lot of food for thought, isn’t it? Let’s break it down even further, and make it even more crystal-clear.

Deep wisdom

Deep wisdom doesn’t mean someone once read a book of kabbalah, had a funny dream, can translate Hebrew to English (or vice-versa) or correctly predicted who was going to win Israel’s last elections.

Broad-minded knowledge

Finding allusions to the latest autistic  pronouncements in the latest Brad Pitt film they just watched doesn’t count. (By way of comparison, the sages of the Sanhedrin had to know 70 languages, and be whizzes at maths, logic and natural science before they’d even be considered for a place.)

The ability to control their physical urges, and be unaffected by the material world

Any wannabe-prophet who is giving over their ‘nevua’ via Facebook, or who has their own twitter account, is clearly not meeting these requirements.

Has to be involved in holy pursuits at all times

There’s a lot of people trying to wave their ‘real prophet’ credentials in our faces, without a whole lot to back it up.  I’ve also been taken in by these people in the past, sadly. It was only when I got to Jerusalem and I saw really holy people like Rav Shalom Arush and Rav Ofer Erez in action, and the humility they have, and the utter simplicity and sweetness they have, and the lack of arrogance and superiority they evince, that the penny dropped that

Rabbis with their own YouTube channel, blog, Facebook accounts and personal agenda to be the next Moshiach are simply not anywhere near the same playing field, kedusha-wise.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be holy, and still doing good work online, or still be holy and coaching little league, or visiting chocolate factories, or riding horses in your spare time. But it definitely does mean that you aren’t in the really big leagues when it comes to kedusha, where the potential prophets are hanging out.

You need to be prepared to get prophecy

Some half-baked idea you had while washing up that WW3 is starting tomorrow is just not going to cut the mustard. Ditto some vague dream that you had, where Obama was riding a white donkey into Jerusalem (unless you spent the 40 days prior to having that dream fasting and praying in the desert somewhere…)

You need to be happy

And this, dear reader, is where so many of today’s false internet prophets are really falling down. When Rav Arush or Rav Berland says ‘trouble’s brewing’ you can believe they aren’t just scaremongering or going on a power trip so fifty people will comment on their post.

The only time they say hard things is in order to get us to make the teshuva we need to turn things around.

How I discovered for myself that doing a pidyon nefesh with Rav Berland (aka Eliezer ben Etia) really works.

The last couple of years, I’ve been having an ‘interesting’ time, health-wise. If you’re occasionally visiting the spiritualselfhelp.org, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in soul, body and mind being intrinsically connected to each other.

In fact, that’s the main premise underpinning my next book that’s hopefully out soon, called ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health’. The main idea is that physical illnesses are only the manifestation of ‘soul’ illnesses, which if they aren’t fixed at the spiritual level, next show up as ‘mental and emotional’ illnesses, and only then show up in the body.

As usual, I learn all this stuff the hard way.

I started writing that book to share my own experiences of getting stuck in a few incredibly difficult spiritual experiences, that had a massively negative impact on my emotional state, and then my physical health. To cut a very long story short, I had so many things going wrong the last couple of years’ that I got mired in a huge amount of desperation and despair, despite all my attempts to keep picking myself up in hitbodedut.

Let’s be clear that without the hitbodedut, I would not have come through losing my house, friends, business, money, faith in humanity and marbles anywhere near as easily as I did, but that doesn’t mean it was a ‘fun’ experience. There was one time last year, when me and my husband were utterly stuck financially, and we were reaching the end of the proceeds of selling our house that had been keeping us going, that I really felt as though my next move was going to be to a dumpster, God forbid.

I don’t know if you’ve ever hit that sort of low place in your own life, but let me tell you: if you stay there for any length of time, sooner or later it kills you.

You lose your will to live, to keep going, and that’s just not something that can continue for long without some serious consequences.

Things started to really turnaround last Chanuka, when I took a trip to Uman and spent most of it extremely angry at Rabbenu and God for dealing me such a difficult hand. But by the end of the trip, the anger had dissolved, the profound disappointment had surfaced, and the bad, icky stuff was finally making its exit, spiritually.

It still took a few months for things to pick up  in my actual life: Baruch Hashem, around Purim my husband started working again, and Hashem sent Him some easy ways to make parnassa that enabled him to carry on learning part-time in yeshiva, which had been our big dilemma as it seemed as though he’d only be able to go back to work if he stopped learning.

But physically, I was still wrecked.

I’d been living on my nerves for years and it took its toll. I felt drained and fatigued a lot of the time, and dizzy and ‘out of it’. I upped my energy med stuff, I started doing 3 tikkun haklalis most days, I stuck lentils all over my hand (that’s a story for another time) and it all helped. But I was still not 100%, most days.

Rosh Hashana rolled around, and the first day I felt so ill. It miraculously lifted just as nightfall fell, and I wondered what sort of year I was going to have. I hoped it was going to be different, better, and I told God I couldn’t cope with another few years’ like the last ones I’d been through. No way, Hose.

Things mostly got better, but then ‘the matzav’ kicked off, and I found my stress levels were going through the roof, especially after my kid’s teacher’s husband got stabbed to death in the Old City.

My nervous system, which was slowly recovering after all the financial stress, and moving stress, and social stress, and spiritual stress of not knowing what God really wanted from us, took a nosedive again, and I started to get pretty bad headaches, and to feel pretty lousy again.

O no! And this time, I was still drinking green smoothies, eating veggies, walking everywhere and doing my daily energy exercises and doing hitbodedut. I’d also made my peace with a bunch of people and God, so I had no idea what else I could do to start to feel better (other than move to somewhere quiet where everyone’s over the age of 60, like Switzerland…)

Enter: Rabbi Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia

They’ve started translating a whole bunch of things about Rav Berland into English, and God arranged for me to read one story after another about people he’d helped who were facing much more serious health issues than me. People who the doctors had given up on. People who really had reached the end of the line.

These people had done a pidyon nefesh with Rav Berland, and got better again. I sat on the fence for a whole month, but then as the headaches and weakness kicked-in again, I decided I had nothing to lose except a bit of cash. We got in touch, I emailed the gabbay details of the problem – and from the minute I sent the email, I started to feel better.

Last week, I paid over the pidyon money (it was quite a lot still, but nowhere near what I  was expecting) – and I’ve broadly been headache free since then, despite having some ongoing huge stresses. (I know, I know, when are there not huge stresses?)

Somehow, the spiritual weight has been lifted off, and terrorists, school moves, financial issues and book production problems notwithstanding, I actually feel pretty darned good, BH!

But I was still cautious about rushing into print. I’ve learnt so many times that when I share these things, I get really tested on them, and I didn’t want to go back to feeling ill again. But then at the Baba Sali, I got nudged to write a public ‘thank you’ to Rav Berland, and to not worry about the outcome.

So here it is, in all its glory.

You can read more about Rav Berland’s pidyon nefesh HERE. You can get in touch and arrange your own pidyon nefesh HERE. You can read a whole bunch of background articles explaining how pidyon nefesh actually works and why HERE. And if you’re struggling with any serious or chronic health issue, I urge you to take the leap of faith, and contact his gabbay.

UPDATE:

These days, I’m not really into the whole ‘geula’ breathless blogging thing.

I was for years, and I used to have a cupboard permanently stocked with Tuna, couscous and other non-perishable food, for when ‘the end’ happened and Rami Levy closed its doors.

Then a few things happened to take me out of ‘survivalist’ mode:

  • I realized that if I was the only person with food, that information would get out sooner or later, and someone bigger, stronger and meaner would come along and steal it.
  • All the terrible predictions being made (most notably by the autistics) didn’t materialize at the times they were meant to, and even my 6 pack of tuna started approaching its sell-buy date.

 

Let’s be clear that I still strongly hope that Moshiach is going to show up any day now, (and so many things are pointing in that direction, it’s scary) – BUT I no longer automatically give ‘end of days’ stuff an uncritical hearing. I’ve stopped reading the autistic messages, for example, and I swore off reading those addictive geula blogs that are really just conjecture and scare-mongering wrapped up in some pseudo-Torah sources.

Why do I say ‘pseudo-Torah’?

For the simple reason that Rav Natan, Rebbe Nachman’s main student, taught that when something is true, it brings you closer to Hashem, and most of what I was reading on those blogs was making me anxious, scared and depressed, ie, doing the exact opposite.

So when someone sent me a link to watch ‘Natan’s after-death experience interview’, replete with details of end of days stuff, Gog and Magog, and details about Moshiach,  I wasn’t so into it. But the person who sent me it had been very affected in a positive way by what she’d seen, and her reaction swayed me to take a look.

I’m glad I did.

Natan is a 15 year old, formerly secular, Israeli boy who ‘died’ unexpectedly on the first day of Succot, and was clinically dead for 15 minutes, before coming back. And he came back with some amazing revelations about what’s occurring in front of our eyes right now. He gave the following class before anyone had been stabbed anywhere in Israel. I’m going to link to the Youtube, so you can see the video for yourself, together with an English translation of the main points.

But I should tell you that the MAIN main point was left out of the English precis, namely that God is expecting us to make some serious teshuva to turn things around. The key things that Natan said we should be concentrating on right now, to get through the craziness that’s going to keep happening are as follows:

Men: need to work on their arrogance (gaava), talking in shul, sexual immorality (gilui arayot), guarding their eyes, keeping shabbat, tzitsit and tefillin.

Women: need to work even more on their arrogance (as it’s a much bigger problem spiritually when a woman is arrogant), their lashon hara, or evil speech, and dressing tzniusly.

It’s still all to play for, and God WANTS things to come as sweetly and peacefully as possible.  And each one of us has a part to play in deciding the outcome.

A few days’ back, I noticed the young guy in the makolet with the tattoo and earrings had started wearing a kippa. He’d watched Natan, and made teshuva. I know another teenager with multiple piercings who took them all out after watching Natan, and made teshuva.

In this day and age, who knows what these two young people already accomplished for Am Yisrael? So we don’t need to just sit here and wait for global desolation. If we overcome our apathy, stop being paralysed by fear and fear-induced denial about what’s really going on all around us, and take to heart that God wants geula to come the SWEET WAY, then that could still really happen, pessimistic doom-and-gloom geula scenarios notwithstanding.

UPDATE: I just got an urgent message sent out from Shuvu Banim’s yeshiva, from Rav Berland. As soon as the English translation is ready, I’ll post it up, but it’s got some amazing chizzuk in it about how we can actually DO something relatively very easy, spiritually. to get the Intifada to stop in its tracks. Stay tuned…