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Rabbenu famously taught that even ‘stupid words’ – mila de’shtuta – have a spiritual value.

It’s slow posting on the blog at the moment, for a few different reasons. I’m collecting the material for OIAG3, and that is taking a lot of time (and also, getting a lot of things to start moving, behind the scenes….).

And I’m also trying to make the most of every moment before the Three Weeks begins, to get out of the house and visit kivrei Tzaddikim, and to do a bunch of things that have been on my list for a long time, before the authorities use the fake Corona ‘second wave’ to try to close it all down again.

And lastly, I have so very much to write, so very much to share, that I kind of don’t know where to start.

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We’re all totally in limbo at the moment.

Stuck between what was, and what will be.

And that’s a very hard place to be in, mentally. Human beings do so much better, mentally, when they have some form of certainty – even when it’s ‘bad’ – than when they have no idea what’s coming next, and how to try to prepare themselves mentally for it.

So, that’s why we’re all stressed and atzbani at the moment – frustrated, upset, angry, lacking patience.

It’s totally normal and natural to be feeling this way right now, so let’s all keep giving ourselves – and others – a break.

That still means we apologise when we act like a nob to other people, and that we take responsibility for our actions, but in a laid-back way that doesn’t dramatise stuff, over over-hype things.

No big deal. Really.

Even if it really is the end of the world.

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A really helpful part of this coping strategy is what Rabbenu calls ‘stupid words’, or mila de-shtuta.

The Na-Nach guys are really good at mila de-shtuta. They’ve taken this part of Rabbenu’s Torah, and raised it to an art-form, as you can you can see a little in the clip below:

 

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Here’s what Rabbenu says in Likutey Moharan 2:24:

Mitzvah gadoleh l’hiot b’simcha – it’s a great mitzvah, to be happy at all times, and to invest all of our effort into banishing sadness and depression. All illnesses that befall a person are solely caused by a lack of joy…..

….And though a broken heart is very precious, this should be contained to a specific time. One should set aside a specific time everyday to break one’s heart and express oneself before God, as brought elsewhere. But one should be joyous for the rest of the day. One can more easily fall into depression from a broken heart, than one came become frivolous on account of happiness, for the distance between a broken heart and depression is less.

Therefore, one must be happy at all times, except for the specific time at which one should have a broken heart.

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So, in our hitbodedut, that’s the time to feel all the pain around the Coronavirus scam, all the corruption in Israel and elsewhere, all the evil billionaires, all the blind sheeple, the fact that the Rav is still in prison…

And to even cry about all these things.

But then, the other 23 hours a day, we have to brush ourselves off, and make EVERY EFFORT to pull ourselves out of feeling broken-hearted about the state of the world.

That’s where dancing and clapping come in.

I challenge you to spend even a minute dancing to this, below, and you’ll see how it instantly lifts your mood:

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The spiritual reason for this is that dancing and clapping ameliorates the harsh spiritual judgments at their root, as he explains in Lesson 1:169 of Likutey Moharan:

When there are troubles, whether collectively or personally, it is impossible to dance….

…[A]meliorating judgments is accomplished by a person judging himself. In other words, we must judge and assess ourselves, by ourselves, about everything that we do – for everythingwhether it was appropriate to act like that. We must analyze our actions and improve them appropriately, in line with the law and judgment of the Torah.

By judging and assessing oneself, one ameliorates and nullifies judgment Above, for, “When there is judgment below, there is no judgment Above. And when judgment is ameliorated, the blood leaves the feet, and joy can then spread through them, moving a person to dance.

In other words, the dancing is a type of spiritual short-cut, that ameliorates judgments Above.

And when we can’t dance – or don’t dance – it’s because we are weighed down by spiritual judgments.

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And then, there’s the mila de-shtuta stuff, too.

Rabbenu talks about that in Lesson 2:48 – which is really a beautiful lesson, about not despairing about what’s going on, and not giving up on ourselves, and just continuing to strengthen ourselves again, and again and again, and to not believe that God is rejecting us, and our prayers and our service.

BH, if I have time I will try to copy it out in full below, as an update to this post.

But in the meantime, here’s the nugget that’s most relevant to now:

[L]ive with the lesson in Likutey Moharan 1:282 [aka AZAMRA!], which is to search and seek and find within ourselves some merit, some good point. And with this good point that we find within ourselves, to rejoice and encourage ourselves. We should not give up on what we’ve already attained [spiritually], even if we’ve fallen away from it to wherever we have fallen.

Even so, we should encourage ourselves with the little bit of good that we still find within ourselves, until in this way, we merit to return completely to God, so that all the intentional sins will be transformed to merits (Yoma 86b).

From what the Baal Shem Tov did at sea, when the Evil Inclination tried to confuse him, we can understand how much we must encourage ourselves not to despair of ourselves, no matter what happens to us.

The most important thing is to be happy at all times, making ourselves happy in any way possible, even by means of foolishness, acting like a fool and doing foolish and merry-making things. Or simply jumping and dancing in order to reach joy, which is a very great thing.

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Ad kan, Rabbenu.

I know it’s hard at the moment. I know it’s tough. I’m feeling the strain myself too, believe me. That’s why I keep running off to Kivrei Tzaddikim every day or two, and trying to make an effort to dance for at least 5 minutes most days (but especially when I’m starting to feel down), and also, why I’m giving myself permission to watch videos like this, below (shmirat eynayim friendly).

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Whatever is going to keep my ‘happy’ and functioning, that’s what I’m going to do right now.

Until the evil starts to fall all by itself.

And trust me, dear reader. That point is so much closer than it currently looks.

We just need to hold on a tiny bit longer.

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PS: If you’re emailing me, and I haven’t responded, give me a little time to come back to you. I have a lot on my plate at the mo, so even responding to emails is a little more than I can manage at the moment. Thank you!

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A billion, million years ago (aka, last week), I sent the draft of my new People Smarts book to get laid out.

Two days ago, he sent it back to me, and I uploaded it to Amazon. Then I held my breath, to see if the only books they are banning are by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, or whether I’m also now on the hit list.

Whaddya know?

They approved it within 24 hours, and it’s now up for sale on Amazon, as the paperback, with the Kindle version hopefully being available later this week.

That’s important, because Amazon has now stopped deliveries to Israel while all the Coronavirus hysteria continues, which basically means I can’t even get a hard copy of my own book. Such are the times we live in. But, once the Kindle version is ready (it’s being worked on by my designer, who is currently locked down in the Philippines….) it’ll be available for instant download.

Alternatively, you can also get the PDF to download, and print it off yourself at home, if you send $12.99 to my paypal here: paypal.me/RivkaLevy , and then drop me an email to let me know you want the book.

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Two billion, million years ago, I was teaching the prototype ‘Crush Your Stress’ Masterclass for women, that is meant to go along with this book.

I’m still trying to get that course completed and uploaded. As you can imagine, all these plans kind of got totally disrupted the last few weeks. But, with God’s help, I’m still planning to get that completed, and then to figure out some live group coaching slots for any women out there who are hanging on to their sanity by their fingernails, and would appreciate some time hanging out online with other women to ‘destress’.

I will keep you posted.

And in the meantime, if you live in the US or UK, you can still get this book hardcopy, HERE.

It’s probably more timely than ever now. But I appreciate that few people have the headspace to read it at the moment.

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The ravberland.com site is also doing a special offer on the Prayers for Health book at the moment, which includes a prayer to be saved from the Coronavirus, where someone donated 50 copies free, for the first 50 people who download the book.

Go HERE for more information.

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And lastly, I highly recommend you read THIS, if you want to start doing something practical to get on top of the emotional, spiritual and financial destruction being wrought by the Coronavirus.

The forces of evil are using this whole scene as an excuse to shut down mikvas, shuls, yeshivas and Talmud Torahs all over the world, including in Israel. Every day, my husband hears more rumors of the police in Israel showing up at more Torah institutions and trying to arrest and fine even more people.

This is an unprecedented attack on the Torah, by people who are trying to play God and control the whole world with fear tactics and manipulation.

Mamash, I have to pinch myself at the moment, because I keep feeling like I’ve stumbled into some Kafkaesque nightmare where Jews in Israel are being threatened and punished for trying to go to shul… and for trying to learn Torah…and for trying to pray.

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Three billion, million years ago, when all the police persecution started up again against Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim, so many people thought there was some justification to it all, however warped. At that time, we were told starkly in a number of different ways that Shuvu Banim was only the start, and that this was part of a much wider campaign against the Torah world:

When is the religious community in Israel going to wake up, and to realize that what’s going on against Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim is just the prototype for a much wider campaign of suppression and persecution aimed at the Torah world?

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Barely six weeks have passed since the Rav was arrested for the ‘crime’ of doing pidyon nefesh and accepting donations, and now look what’s going on.

A couple of days ago I actually had a big attack of yeoush, or despair, at the situation, because if more of us would throw our weight behind the Rav, and add our prayers to his, and make the teshuva required for slagging off the Gadol HaDor, and lacking emuna and emunat tzaddikim, all this would turn around overnight, and Coronavirus would completely disappear off the scene.

But even at this stage, and even after we’ve seen the Rav make so many correct predictions of what was to come, and seen so many disastrous situation turn around and sweeten after following his instructions, and even after so many kabbalists and rabbis have spoken out publically about what is really happening here….

Most of Am Yisrael remain totally oblivious.

Sigh.

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We can get this to change, we really can.

I sit here alternating between panic and emuna, because I KNOW that once more of us get the message, and make teshuva about all our arrogance, and all our control-freakery, and all our lashon hara, and all the poisonous ‘news’ we believed over our own true rabbis, the redemption process will start to proceed in much smoother, nicer way.

But until that happens, things are going to be really, really hard.

I’m already seeing what all this ‘social distancing’ and quarantine is doing to a lot of my kids’ teenage friends, and there is going to be a mental health epidemic that could easily see people start to kill themselves, if we don’t get this decree sweetened ASAP.

Tachlis, we can’t keep our families at home for another 4 months – I don’t think most people will manage more than another week, before they literally start to crack-up, emotionally and mentally.

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SO, HERE’S A PLEA FROM THE HEART:

Am Yisrael, please, please, stop being so stubborn and arrogant, and stop believing all the heretical news headlines and false accounts of what’s going on here, and what the response should be to it. There is only one way to get this Coronavirus destruction to stop, and that is teshuva, prayer, and binding ourselves to our true tzaddikim, especially Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

If this doesn’t turn around by Pesach, as Rabbi Berland is trying to do, it’s going to be really, really bad.

That’s the reality.

And each one of us has a part to play, and a responsibility to fulfill, to put more effort into our prayers, our teshuva, and our hafetza.

PS: Baruch Hashem, I got day 21 at the Kotel done this morning. Hashem only knows if I’m going to be able to reach the 40 days, but each day is its own miracle.

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I want my site to be for stressed-out women, not conpiracy-minded men.

Two weeks ago, I kind of had an ‘epiphany’ moment, about my life and my writing.

For years, I’ve been writing blog posts and articles and even books that have often been very serious, and very ‘justice warrior’-oriented, and where I’ve really tried to do my bit to expose evil and go after the bad guys.

Where did that approach get me?

Honestly…. Not so far. I have a couple of thousand readers of my blogs, the majority of whom Google Analytics tells me are men….

Those men don’t buy my books. They aren’t really the ‘tribe’ I want to interact with, or write for, however nice they actually all might be. So once I took the time to actually read my Google Analytics report (for the first time in 8 years!) I realized that something fundamental has to change here, in the way I’m trying to write for and interact with my audience.

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Part of me really loves all the buzz of reporting news, and ‘badness’, and unmasking the truth.

That’s my investigative journalist side – the side that lost me my job all those years back, on one of London’s Jewish papers, and has gotten me sued a couple of times, and has kept me awake on countless nights, fighting the dark forces in my head.

But really, where did that part get me, or get anyone else?

I’m pondering that a lot at the moment.

Nearly all the baddies I’ve exposed are still going strong… the bad people are still being protected and defended by the other bad people… No-one really did any major teshuva as a result of what I’ve written about this stuff, or changed their life in any fundamental way.

And I don’t know what I’ve really got out of blogging about these things, all these years.

Honestly.

So much effort, for so little anything much.

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Two weeks ago, I was ready to start ripping a whole bunch more lies and masquerades to shred in print, and to set out ‘the bad’ in that obvious, hard-to-argue-with way that clears up so many questions, and brings sterling clarity to an issue.

But God kept stopping me from doing that, in my hitbodedut.

And for two weeks, I didn’t know why.

But in the meantime, I had this course on the backburner about reducing stress I’m trying to do for women, so I’ve been turning my attention to that, while I’m waiting for the clarity to descend about where I go to next in my writing.

Yesterday, I think I started to get my answer. Yesterday, I taught two classes on how to start de-stressing over Zoom, and I learnt something profound:

I totally loved interacting with those women.

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I totally loved teaching about something that really help people tachlis, in their real life, to stop feeling so stressed and anxious and to start to feel like they really can cope, with all the cack we all have to deal with, and that there is fundamentally nothing wrong with them.

All stress is really just a call to action, a message that something needs to change – and that something, nine times out of ten, is internal.

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So, I came back on to rivkalevy.com yesterday, after doing the usual rounds of the 4 blogs and sites I read every day, once, just to stay up on things.

And that’s when it hit me:

I don’t want to be writing about politics or current affairs anymore.

I don’t want to be trading barbs with nutso bloggers who get all their life force from taking provocative stances online and making dumb statements guaranteed to rile people up.

I want to be a force for good in the world.

So, I am hoping to be taking my writing on this blog in a different direction. More along the lines of the Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife – but way more upbeat and actually helpful!

I have been through so much stress, so many crazy experiences the last few years, that God has really shown me how to deal with, using the teachings and advice of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and his students.

I want to help other people – and specifically, other women – to access that light more easily, and to enjoy it in their own lives.

And I can’t do that, if I’m constantly picking fights with nutso bloggers, or opining on pointless politics, or trying to deal with negative commentators who have massive chips on their shoulders. It can honestly ruin my week.

I don’t want to deal with those people any more, I don’t want to cater for them. I don’t want my site to attract that sort of person, because they have been tying up my energy and my headspace for years and years, and preventing me from doing what God really created me to do in the world.

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So, I’m going in a different direction here on rivkalevy.com, where the focus is going to be far more on stressed-out WOMEN and far less on conspiracy-theory-enjoying men.

And far more on putting together real, practical EMUNA EXPERIENCES to help my readers navigate their lives as happily as they can, holding God’s hand, and far less on self-righteous, impractical rants about what everyone else needs to do, to fix the world.

I’m nothing special, not at all. But I do have a bunch of very bad middot that God has helped me to get a grip on (mostly….). If Rebbe Nachman’s advice worked for me, it can work for anyone – and that’s what I’m going to start focusing on doing, sharing that stuff out, as best I can.

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I was so stoked yesterday, to teach those classes.

I was so thrilled, when another reader called to tell me how much the ‘stress exercise’ had helped her sort something out, in her actual, real life.

So guys, you can carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d much prefer you tell your wives about what’s going on here now, and let them take over. And nutsos, you can also carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d honestly much prefer that you don’t, because we are about to blast off into the realm of EMUNA EXPERIENCES, where humility, caring and compassion for others are going to be the name of the game.

There are plenty other blogs out there providing a steady diet of propaganda, fake prophecy, self-righteous opinion and scare stories.

I’m retiring from that field.

I have much bigger and better things to do with my time, a lot of ladies out there who I know I can really help, bezrat Hashem.

And that’s the focus going forward, to build a tribe of LADIES who are trying to bring geula really the only way we can, i.e. by working on ourselves, and our emuna and our stress, and our relationships with our fellow Jews.

This blog, my writing, me  – we’re ready to evolve out of the pupa, and to start doing something useful in the world.

I have to say, I’m pretty excited.

TBC

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Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

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RE: THE BETA REDUCE YOUR STRESS COURSE

UPDATE:

Baruch Hashem, there is someone in my house who is better at this stuff than I am. The husband took a look at the last post, and told me to carve this off as a standalone post, so it won’t get lost – so here it is!

He also told me I’m apparently confusing you, dear reader, by saying it’s free then attaching a price tag. So, let’s clear that up now: THIS IS A TOTALLY FREE TRAINING! The plan is for me to try it out on 10 people, and get their feedback.

So if you got confused or put off by the ‘price tag’, please come back and sign up for a time on Wednesday Dec 4th, 2019:

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Here’s what the course is going to do, BH:

  1. Help you to clearly identify your unique stress response and ‘stress personality‘ (based on the Torah, but ‘hidden’ in secular language).
  2. Help you to ID typical occasions when your unhelpful stress response shows up.
  3. Give you easy, practical tools to defuse your unique stress response, so you can manage stress better, and cope better.
  4. Teach you how to do mindfulness meditation (i.e. hitbodedut) that will work for your particular character and stress response.

I’m teaching the first part totally for free, via Zoom, so I can get some feedback from participants before going forward.

I am still trying to finalise the time slots, but spots will be limited to 10 people, and it looks like I will be doing a morning and evening time slot at the moment, on Wednesday, Dec 4th, later this week.

So, if you’re a woman, and you’d like to find out some easy ways to start defusing your stress and to cope better with life, you can sign up below:

 

Photo by Dustin Belt on Unsplash