17 Iyar 5779 / Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bechukotai
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Autistics – Prophets, or not?    

Autistics – Prophets, or not?

About two years ago, the banks started collapsing, just as the autistics warned. For a few tension-packed weeks, it looked as though the end of the world was imminent...


 About five years ago, just after we moved to Israel and just before we really started to get into Breslev teachings, I read a book called: ‘Daniel: An Autistic’s World’. The book was full of messages from Jewish autistic people, and they made very chilling reading.
For those of you who don’t know, around 20 years ago, someone pioneered a way of communicating with autistic and other severely mentally disabled people called ‘facilitated communication’.
Now is not the time and place to go into a big discussion about facilitated communication. Right from the start, the whole thing has been extremely controversial, and fraught with discussions about its veracity, in particular, whether the messages being received from the autistic people were really authentic, or actually written by their handlers.
Let each person make up their own mind.
But for me, the messages I read in Daniel really touched a chord. There was one, for example, that talked about how so many Jews gave money to charity in the same way that you’d give ‘protection money’ to the mafia, to get Hashem to leave them alone, G-d forbid.
The basic theme of the messages was: ‘make teshuva, because the world as we know it is going to end very soon, and anyone who isn’t 100% with Hashem simply isn’t going to make it.’
Around three and four years ago, the messages went up in urgency and frequency. They started to predict terrible things: massive natural disasters; terrible wars and social unrest; and the imminent collapse of the whole world-wide economic system, starting with the banks.
A lot of people mocked, especially when these events didn’t materialise within two days of being posted up on the internet. Business was booming, house prices were still doubling every month, people were making silly money for doing very little.
But then, a funny thing happened. Around two years ago, the banks did start to collapse. For a few incredibly hairy weeks, it really looked as though the end of the world was about to kick off, with all the chaos, civil unrest and war that had to go with it.
Until G-d pulled us back from the brink.
Almost overnight, the ‘veneer’ of normalcy returned, and the whole imminent collapse of the world as we know it retreated back into nightmare land.
The autistics went very quiet. For months and months, there were no new messages.
I wondered to myself: what happened? Clearly, the banks are as shaky (if not shakier…) than ever. Clearly, the economy in so many places (except Israel…) is lurching from bad to worse, albeit in a much quieter, less publicised and therefore much more sinister way.
So what happened?
If you ask me, the tzadikim who are constantly praying for Hashem to send us the redemption in a sweet way earned us a short reprieve.
Rav Arush and Rav Brody have said pretty much the same thing themselves; as long as more people are learning emuna and turning to Hashem, Hashem is holding off the imminent collapse of the world as we know it.
There is a fight going on in the Heavens between the attribute of ‘Din’ (Judgement) and the attribute of ‘Mercy’. The proponents of Din – as characterised by the autistics – have been describing Moshiach coming in the wake of a terribly bloody, destructive war, where 2/3 of the world’s population is wiped out.
There are many Jewish prophecies that support their view, and it has to be taken very seriously. Indeed, there didn’t seem to be much hope of Moshiach coming any other way – until recently.
But then, Rav Arush – who is spear-heading the heavenly fight for Moshiach to come the sweet way – started his campaign to spread more and more emuna around the globe.
He started his ‘100 emuna CDs for cost’ campaign; he’s been sending his devoted pupil Rabbi Brody around the world, on one speaking tour after another; he’s been opening up Breslev portals in one language after another; ensuring that anyone who emails gets an answer from a Breslev Rav in a matter of hours; publishing more books, translating more books, printing more books, sending more books out to anyone who asks for them.
And it’s really starting to make a difference. It’s really starting to tip the Heavenly scales to the side of ‘Redemption the sweet way’.
How do I know? Because last week, I downloaded the latest messages from the autistics, and I was amazed at the change.
It used to be that the autistics would exhort Am Yisrael to put on sackcloth and ashes, and go and weep about their sins and the sins of the generation. Now, they are talking about emuna and bitachon as being the keys to redemption.
In one message, one autistic communicator even told readers that they should start doing hitbodedut (yes, he used that exact word) – because without that time for internal introspection, a person really would have no idea if the voice that was really guiding their decisions was ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
To say that the autistics are not Breslevers would be an enormous understatement.
So I was absolutely amazed. Reading the latest messages, it struck me how similar they were in places to the teachings of Rav Arush.
What can it all mean? I’m certainly no expert, but it seems to me that the stern judgments are being sweetened. The autistics are still predicting some absolutely terrible circumstances to come – and it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. They are talking about terrible famines and very tough times ahead.
But they repeat again and again, that the people who cling to Hashem will make it through. Not only that, the people who really want to make teshuva – the ones that in their hearts of hearts really want to be doing Hashem’s Will, but for whatever reason, they are trapped far away from Him – Hashem will help them to come back to Him.
What a profoundly hopeful message!
The autistics are not prophets. Even when the prophets were prophesising, not everything they saw and described for us was 100% guaranteed to happen. The good visions, including Moshiach’s coming, the ingathering of the Jewish exiles and the rebuilding of the third Holy Temple, are 100% guaranteed to come about.
The ‘bad’ ones depend on us: if we make teshuva, if we work on our emuna, if we talk to Hashem and really do our best to get closer to Him, the harsh prophecies will remain just that – visions of a future that never actually happened.
For the people with emuna, even the ‘worst case scenario’ will work out just fine. For everyone else – it’s going to be the darkest time the world has ever experienced.


Rabbi Lazer Brody connects with autistic Ben Golden

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