Shavuot musings and update on the Rav

I went into Shavuot feeling exhausted this year – even before any plans to stay up late and learn.

The Rav was back in hospital with the same serious heart condition that struck last month, and then got ameliorated, after two weeks of very expensive treatment in a private clinic in Israel.

We didn’t know if he was going to be with the kehilla for Shavuot, and just a few days earliers, the Rav had said no-one should be missing from the prayers on Shavuot.

There was also R Elmaliach’s schedule, that another aspect of the ‘soul of moshiach’ was meant to be revealed on Shavuot, at least in some subtle way.

An hour before the Chag, we heard the Rav was back home.

The gabbaim had to agree to pay for a private doctor to be in attendance on the Rav the whole of Shavuot, before the hospital would let him come home for the chag.

(Private doctors cost $5k a day….)


So I got to Ido HaNavi, and I sat and did some of my tikkun haklalis for quite a long time, until the Rav finally came out.

I was so pleased he came out.

But I also needed to get home, and I was feeling really exhausted, and also, full of a very deep yeoush, that we seem to be stuck in this mode of hanging on by our finger nails to the edge of the cliff.

How much longer can this go on?



On the way home, I was really starting to ponder on how I can change my own mindset, so that I have the stamina to keep going happily, regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen in the world.

I didn’t ‘get there’ totally, but I had some insight that most of the problem is a lack of gratitude and inflated expectations of what ‘life’ should really be like.

It’s a huge zchut to daven with the Rav, but we’re not really part of the kehilla in terms of having friends, and certainly not in terms of ever being invited for meals, or inviting others to us.

Usually, that doesn’t bother me.

But this Shavuot, I have to admit to feeling a little lonely.


So, there was the internal battle going on as I walked back home, between trying to ‘see the good’ – and there is so much of it! – vs feeling washed-up and a little despairing, that ‘life’ is stuck in the same old rut at the moment.



Close to home, one of my neighbors stopped me, and told me she was organising a shiur on Rebbe Nachman, and the story of the tainted grain, for the following day, and would I come?

My neighbor is not Breslov.

I told her I’d love to come.


Probably because I was in a funny mood, the food was not as good as it usually is on Shavuot night.

My foccacias dried out too much, my antipasi vegetables weren’t as ‘on the ball’ as usual.

I could feel that yeoush tugging me down again.


One of my daughters was going to Kever David, but the other one was going to try to hear Ben Shapiro speak in some shul somewhere in Emek Refaim.

I decided to try Ben Shapiro.

Not because I like him, or I’m ‘into him’ the way my daughter is, but because I wanted a walk somewhere, and I still had a Tikkun HaKlali to get done before I turned in for the night.

On the way, we passed a young man on an electric scooter – who’d had both his legs blown off.

My daughter had bumped into a friend so she missed it, but my son-in-law and I stared after him, and we were both pretty upset by what had happened to him.

The yeoush started knocking again.


We got to the location for Ben Shapiro ten minutes late, and while that’s early in Israel, we forgot we were dealing with punctual anglos.

The place was packed.

I suddenly felt like I’d left Israel, somehow, and got transported to the Upper West Side. It was total ‘culture shock’.

Thank God, I couldn’t find a seat, or even somewhere to stand, where I could hear anything.

My daughter was more determined to stay, but I said my goodbyes and went to do my last Tikkun Haklali for the night outside.

I am sure I was the only person there who started the night with Rav Berland, and finished it with Ben Shapiro.


On the walk back home, I was pondering more about this whole ‘how to hang on’ struggle I’m experiencing at the moment.

And I started trying to unpack it more in a chat with God.

Q: What am I trying to ‘hang on’ for?

A: That the whole of the evil and the lies should be finally revealed, uprooted and destroyed.

Q: And if that doesn’t happen right now, or in my lifetime, even – does that negate the whole purpose of being alive?

It took a moment for the obvious answer to come:

A: No! Of course not! I am here to do my own tikkun in the world, and to fix my own soul, regardless of global evil ‘being destroyed’.

Q: So why are feeling so down and whiny? You are doing your tikkun every single day. Aren’’t you?


I came home feeling happier.


The next day, I had a list of things to try to get done, spiritually.

That included:

Saying more prayers for my single daughter to get married.

Saying 7 Tikkun HaKlalis.

Reading Megillat Ruth.

Doing my daily hour of hitbodedut.

Because my yetzer is working overtime at the moment, I have been having this ongoing feeling that I’m not doing enough, spiritually.

I didn’t stay up learning all night on Shavuot…. I didn’t finish the whole book of tehillim like one of my daughters did…. I picked Ben Shapiro over Kever David…. I didn’t invite a bunch of people for the chag….

Yadda yadda yadda, feeling bad and ‘not good enough’ all day long.


In hitbodedut, I made a real effort to shut the yetzer up, and to try to focus on the good.

Q: How much effort went in to buying the stuff for chag and making the food?

A lot. I was cooking most of the day, even though it didn’t come out so wonderful.

Q: How much time do you spend every single day on prayers, hitbodedut and 7 TKs?

A: Two and a half hours. (And that’s not including the days when I go down to the Rav to join in with the prayers.)

OK, so what’s with all the beating yourself up?!? Enough already! Stop whining and start enjoying the chag!




My neighbor’s shiur was nice – not earth-shattering, but I so appreciated the effort she’d put into pulling it together and hosting it.

She’s a big talmida of one of the main persecutors of the Rav in the dati leumi world, and she has pictures of most of the people I write about on the blog all over her ‘Tzaddikim’ wall.

But I realised, it doesn’t matter.

At least, when I’m making the effort to see the good in myself, my life, and the people around me, it really doesn’t matter.


Post-Shavuot, the Rav went straight back to hospital.

I will try to keep you updated here about what is going on – but join the WhatsApp group if you want to be more in the loop.

(I’m not in that group as I don’t have a smartphone.)


The main battle going on is in our heads.

The yetzer is working overtime, to convince us all to throw in the towel, and that there is nothing left worth fighting for, and nothing good to look forward to.

That’s baloney.

Each person’s life is still so filled with good.

Just right now, we have to dig a little deeper to see it.

And even if ‘Moshiach doesn’t come’ this year – so what?

I still have my spiritual work cut out for me.

I’m not waiting for ‘Moshiach’ to come and rescue me from my own misery, my own bad middot, my own lack of emuna.

That’s my job to do.

And boy, is it a full-time position.


3 replies
  1. Michal rus
    Michal rus says:

    Thank you Rivka for taking us along the journey from the heavy yeush to revealing what matters most on a daily (hourly) basis. Just finding the good. And keeping on returning back to the truth of the goodness of Hashem and His people. We’re doing our part to reveal that goodness as ovdei Hashem and holding on, while trusting Hashem’s timing for everything He does. I really loved the part about going to the neighbour’s shiur and seeing the good. The more we find the good in ourselves the easier it is to find the good points in others. Like Rabbenu teaches. When you wondered about completing the tikun and revealing all the lies in your lifetime, I was reminded of the story with the twisted branches (I don’t remember the whole thing but just the lesson that we each have our part to do and sometimes we don’t see the full tikun but our work helps others) this is hard for us and I am so thankful to yôu for sharing the walk from that low and heavy feeling to the purposeful place – with strength to go forward one bit of avodah at a time. Thank you. And may you and us all be given more koach to continue the avodah day by day seeing and revealing the good in ourselves, those around us, and transforming this world in to a world where Hashem’s malchus is revealed to everyone and mêlech hamoshiach guides everyone according to Torah. And we are healed from our flaws, physical emotional and spiritual, all coming together k.ish echad b’lev echad.

  2. Malka
    Malka says:

    I struggled with the same senseless feeling this Shavuot. I think we know what we expect: the end of this wickedness, Moshiach… For me is HOW to get to Israel, how to live there. I only see glimpses from you. You say a lot of good things Rivka, your honesty is wonderful, how you express your thoughts is first class. May our prayers be answered.
    PS: oh I so dislike pipsqueak so called conservative Shapiro.repulsive dude.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      It’s just prayer and yearning.

      And the point, really, is the yearning to be here, honestly.

      If you’ve got to that stage, then the rest is in God’s hands.


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