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The Exhodus after the Flood: Miracles and Plagues (Va-era 5769)

Tikkun Jacob Forum - Repair Your World - Miracles - Va'era 23rd Jan 2009; 27th Tevet 5769
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When one has a relationship with G-d, one knows He exists. One feels it constantly and one is reminded of it daily.

It could start with simply thanking G-d for all the gifts He continuously bestows upon us. These may be food, money, security, family, children, friends, work, play, the stars, the earth, water. But when they start including something we take for granted like electricity and we start thanking G-d for electricity every day, we might start thinking, where does the electricity come from? Who makes it? What happens when we turn on the light? How come the light turns on? Was the fire just started that turns on the light? Or was the fire on all day just in case someone turns on a light?

Imagine wanting to braai (BBQ) for your family at 7pm, you would start the fire at 6pm. But Eskom (South Africa's sole mandated electricity provider) doesn't know when you might light your fire, i.e. turn on your oven or hob, so just in case you need it, they light it for you at 5am. It burns the whole day until 6pm for nothing. Wasting resources and worse polluting the earth for a very long period of time whereas you only used the electricity for a short period of time. The only people winning are the owners of the power stations, the producers of the parts that make up the power stations, the directors of Eskom and the coal mine owners. The citizens of the country are not benefiting. We are paying. We pay for the electricity whether we use it or not! If we don't use enough, some of our tax money goes to run the power stations. From my reading and research, I believe that the real cost of running our power stations in South Africa is between R3 and R11 per kwh (kilo watt hour), but I am charged 57 cents per kwh for the electricity I use in my house! The rest comes from tax; from government grants given to the builders of the power stations; from foreign investors; and especially in South Africa, from the government's realisation in the 1960's that they should build spare capacity whilst the ability to build power stations was cheap.

When I started thinking about electricity, I started thinking about the power of the earth: especially of wind and sun power. If I walk outside on a windy sunny day, I get blown about, and I get burnt. Why can't we harness this energy? Why don't we harness this energy?

The answer is that we can harness this energy. We don't because of our centralised system which has vested interests in making money before considering the environment. These money grabbers don't care about us because if things go wrong, they will have money to buy their way out of trouble whilst we starve or die. But they are going to eat their own fortune. We are going to survive whilst they struggle. We are going to vote with our feet, our hearts, our money, our minds.

We are going to get off the electricity grid and if possible provide electricity to our neighbours. Instead of buying a Mercedes Benz C200 which I've spent the past 4 years saving for and especially the past 18 months since the new model came out, I decided to spend the equivalent money on my power station at home. On 1000 watts of solar energy (power) and a 1000 watt turbine. I also decided a year ago to start a business which I have called Orbital Renewable Energy which would provide consultancy to people wishing to find out about green energy, who wished to find out how to become energy efficient, who decided that they wanted to control their own supply and demand. These clients would be big business, the middle class in 3 bedroom houses, and shack dwellers.

The idea was that the number of small vendors in the RE (Renewable Energy) industry probably weren't spending enough time selling and much too much time on delivering product and supporting existing clients. This analysis comes from my knowledge of how the computer industry works. Small businesses have few clients, get to a point where they can't grow anymore and then stop growing. But if someone was selling for them, then they might be able to grow, eg by charging more, or perhaps by getting work and subcontracting and thus growing their businesses. I hoped to do this in the RE space.

But in order to do it, I had to learn. I had been reading for 4 years, but never done anything. My first task was to buy a battery, an electrical battery charger and an inverter. My friend Ismail and I connected the cables including a circuit breaker in case there was a problem. We charged the battery for 10 hours and then we ran the TV system for 2 hours. We felt amazing, but it was only the very first step of many.

We then bought a solar panel and a solar charge controller. The solar charge controller is similar to the electrical battery charger except that the electrical battery charger usually has constant power and therefore the electrical charger doesn't need to be as sophisticated. The solar charge controller needs to deal with constantly fluctuating input current, eg due to the sun moving across the sky, or because of clouds in the sky, or because of smoke from a fire, or because of the sun setting and rising and because of night.

We connected the solar charge controller and solar panel to our system and then charged the empty battery from the sun. It took 2 days. We waited for the system to go through all the charging functions. There are about 5 of them. After this we ran our TV system for 2 hours. These 2 hours were "free." What an exhilarating feeling it is to create and use one's own energy. And I still feel it every time I use G-d as my physical, not just mental, energy source. One could argue that there is a cost per hour, but the parts become part of my assets, increasing my asset value and making me a wealthier person and one who has 2 hours every second day of free electricity for my TV system.

Ismail and I then built a 24 Volt system. This uses 2 solar panels and is designed to run the TV system every day for 3 hours even if there are up to three days of clouds and no charging.

We then decided to put in a "critical load" system and take as much of my house off the grid as possible and make it a showcase for how others can do it. I have spent over 750 hours since March last year on this system, learning about all the components and how they fit together. Reading, reading and more reading. Understanding. Trying out. My house is a science experiment with things happening in every room. It is incredible. Every morning I wake up and go to school or I go to university without leaving home. I am testing, learning, trying out, writing, summarising, telling everyone I meet about this amazing free energy that G-d has provided for us.

Incredible. Thank G-d. Thank G-d who has provided for all of us, not just the wealthy people who want us to spend our hard earned money with their companies. They live lovely lives, but they aren't off the grid either. The paradox is that they can afford to be on the grid, whereas we cannot afford to be on the grid! We are paying every month for our electricity. Surely after paying for electricity for 20 years in our houses electricity should be free! We are conditioned to believe that there is a price for electricity and so instead of investing in our future and planning for our retirement ourselves, we leave it to other people. Then when we are ready to retire, we may find that there is a severe recession or depression and no money for us to retire on. Where did all that money we paid over the years disappear to? It couldn't have just disappeared. It must be in someone's pocket. Yes, my friends, it is in someone else's pocket. All your hard earned pension money didn't just disappear, but someone else has it. They have your blood, sweat and tears. They have your holidays with your family. They have the house you lost when you lost your job and really needed the 1000's you had paid into the pension. And then these companies have the gall to charge you interest when you are desperate and want to borrow your own money out of your pensions.

Anyway I digress a bit. I will write separately about the "cost of living" and why after 20 years of working, there doesn't need to be a cost of living anymore. It takes foresight and planning. It takes preparation and belief in G-d. It takes courage. But it is possible. And you can start doing it today, right now. When you have finished watching TV tonight, switch off the entire system at the plug. Mirjana and I are saving R140 per year doing this. When you have finished using your computer, shut it down, switch off all the components and switch off the plug. You will save even more energy. By doing this you are donating to G-d. You are giving charity. You are allowing others to get electricity they don't currently have. You are being altruistic, ie giving, and not greedy. You are understanding that energy is not free and we cannot simply waste it. You are beginning to realise that being able to switch on the switch at any time has a huge price and G-d in His Infinite Wisdom will bless you for saving His earth. For doing your bit to be a Messiah in a very small way. For giving back. For not always taking. For not being greedy for what you can have now.

The next thing you can do is only use your computer for research, for writing letters, for work and NOT for games. Use the games time to learn something or if you want a break, play Monopoly, or a card game, or go for a walk, or do something different. Perhaps gardening? Perhaps learning to be an electrician as I am currently doing. I have a matric. I have one year of engineering. I have 3 years of computer science including two years of university pure maths and two years of university applied maths (science) and I have a 2 year MBA (Master of Business Administration - I got it so that I as a (computer) scientist can talk my clients language) degree and I have a six month textile diploma. But things change and there are always new things to learn. eg about the economy, about electricity, about economics, about something that excites and delights you. About something that makes you feel good. About something that creates, that doesn't destroy. About something Kabbalistic that creates and that shows your connection to Adam Kadmon, primeval man, the first man G-d created. I am becoming an electrician. I believe that the future will belong to electricians, and to people who know how to find and look after water, and to people who can grow food, and other people that will help us "live off grids."

Miracles have happened which have opened my eyes to the possibility that there is another way.

Miracle 1: delays
This is one miracle that is difficult to understand as a miracle. You see after a while one begins to see delays as "normal." Let's take an example. I phone a supplier who tells me that don't have a particular stock item I want. They tell me that if I place the order and pay for it in advance, I will have it in two weeks. I am happy to wait the two weeks, because I can put it into my schedule and do other things. But after two weeks, nothing happens. A few days later I phone the supplier and they tell me the goods are "in customs." I used to believe this excuse, but in the past year I have imported electrical products from Israel, Germany and the UK and none of them have ever been "stuck in customs." All the paper work is done properly in advance. The freight forwarder I use is not the cheapest one, but they are reliable. They helped me get a customs importer number. They helped me with the process. I had to get a tax clearance. I had to get a special international clearance number for the goods. The booklet is very complex. They helped me with the number. Nothing I imported has ever been stuck at customs. The paperwork has always been in order.

Miracle 2: delays
I bought some solar panels. They are flexible 6 metre panels and they have a very special technical specification and a unique way of applying to a roof. They need to be stuck onto a particular kind of Zincalume sheet which has a PVDF paint coating. There is a manual that tells one how to do the applcation. The Joburg supplier told me that I could just stick the panels onto the Zincalume and "don't worry about the quickconnects, just cut them off."

I am a very thorough person and having read 10,000's of pages so far about PV (photo-voltaic solar panel) installations, I knew that I needed that manual. I therefore took the extreme step of emailing the technical contact given on the manufacturer's web site, but he has never replied, even unto today. He probably thinks: "I should only be helping my distributor, I have never heard of this guy David Lipschitz." So I took the more extreme step of phoning my supplier's supplier, ie phoning the manufacturer in Auburn Hills, Detroit directly. I was incredibly lucky to get through to Ashanta Broner, in the technical department. I said I needed the manual. She asked me how many panels I had bought. I said 8 x 6 metre panels; 1 x 3 metre panel; and two normal 64 watt panels. She asked where she could email to. I rather asked her for her email address. She gave it to me. I emailed her. I had the manual 10 minutes later. The manual is 55 pages long. Not something one can simply ignore. Why would someone write a 55 page manual if "people an just ignore it"? I asked her about cutting the quick connect cables off and using my own cables. She said if I do that I will lose the guarantee. The guarantee is 20 years! If you don't install the panels properly the guarantee is only 1 year!

The manual contains information about installation temperatures, about cabling, about performance, about a number of uses, etc. It is a critical part of the system.

After discussions with Ashanta, I found out on a Friday night at 9pm my time that there is a DVD showing the Unisolar factory and how to install the manuals visually. I requested the DVD. It was 1pm their time. I expected it two weeks later. I got it the following Monday morning, couriered to me at no cost! There was a cost though, and they had made money because someone was using 11 of their panels.

So much for South African efficiency. It just doesn't exist in the PV sector. I think people think there is a recession, so they aren't prepared to do any work. They keep promising and not delivering. This is not just the sales person, but also her boss and the general manager of the company. They have all promised me things and not delivered.

So I have spoken to the chairman of the group's secretary and she has put me in touch with the CEO of the company that owns the company I am dealing with, and he had lunch with me on the 26th January 2009. To apologise, and to hear my ideas for expanding his company in a recession.

Miracle 3: wrong product
A box I opened had the correct label on the outside, but the wrong product inside. I wasn't too purturbed as it was still two weeks till installation date. I ordered the correct product in mid December. I should have had it on the 12th January when I returned from my holiday. It is the 26th January and I still don't have it.

I didn't know the wrong product was a miracle until I was installing the main components on my system with Steven, my welder/builder/fitter, Ismail and myself. We had to fit an AC enclosure and a DC enclosure. The DC enclosure was a 100% with the knockout on the side fitting 100%, but the AC enclosure was about 1cm off on the knockout. The knockout is a part of the metal enclosure that has been cut, but not completely cut. You can leave it in if you don't need it or remove it easily if you need to put cables through that part of the enclosure.

I was standing behind Ismail and Steven who were scratching there heads. I had the bigger picture and I noticed a row of screws at the top of the DC enclosure and a row of screws at the bottom of the AC enclosure. We removed the AC enclosure and turned it 180 degrees. It turned out that the AC enclosure is actually a DC enclosure with an AC front panel, It looks normal from the front, but actually is wrong.

We started the installation on the 19th January, last Monday. I requested the supplier to courier the right component to me. I am still waiting. Note that the supplier cannot complain about not having money as they are currently sitting on R5500 of mine for another order that was meant to arrive from overseas on 16th January, but which is "still in customs."

I also requested my supplier to courier 3 male and 3 female connector cables to me. I am still waiting.

Note that I am still waiting even after the CEO of this company's parent company came down on the people in this company "like a ton of bricks."

The miracle is the learning that I have to open and check every box I receive before supplying it to my clients. I also have to ensure that I have all the equipment before starting a job.

Each of these miracles so far may not seem like miracles, but each of them moved me further away from a simple consultancy towards a company with an estimated R50 million of stock. Stock turns should be about 6 per year, ie stock moves every two months, therefore the turnover of this company should be R300 million per year. That is therefore the initial target of my new company in the first year. How to make it happen?

A friend said "you will fail unless I was a billionnaire. You should start small and grow the business carefully and slowly." But this is old thinking, so I made myself "a billionnaire", ie I thought "how would a billionnaire think?" When I thought like this and took a step back from my project, I found the solution and with G-d and my fellow man's help we will make it happen.

Miracle 4: the J roller
I needed a J roller for the solar panel part of the project. Another supplier in Joburg said they don't use it. But I want to follow all instructions with regard to fitting my panels and ensuring that I get my full 20 year guarantee.

I discovered after talking to numerous people in South Africa that screen printers use this J roller. I phoned a friend of mine in the textile industry and asked him if he could ask around for me. He spoke to a friend of his (who turns out to be my best friend from school, although I haven't seen him for years) and he said he has one. He offered to give it to my friend, which he did the next day. My friend asked where he got it. He said that he moved into a house 2 weeks ago and the house was empty except for the J roller!! He was about to throw it away when my friend phoned him. The roller I have now is a actually an old fashioned ink printer's roller and it worked perfectly. Honour G-d.

Miracle 5: the turbine
A couple of weeks ago, my neighbour told me that I had to move my turbine to another spot in my garden. This upset me immensely. I had asked him and shown him my plan and he had signed it was ok. I had seen another 44 home owners and two body corporates and had their signatures of support. I had spent a total of 50 hours on my EIA. The EIA was approved by my local environmental office and was now in the hands of the environmental office of the provincial government. I was expecting a reply by the end of January as to whether I could go ahead or not. I wept that night with emotion as I didn't want to spend R6500 advertising again and perhaps go through the long process of visiting my 45 neighbours again. One has to visit everyone within 100 metres of the property where the EIA is required.

I told my neighbour that I would contact the EIA office after they gave me permission. You see the important thing is to get the permission; to set a precedent so that the law can be changed to allow private wind turbines without the need for EIA's, but still with plans required, submitted to council, and authorised by the neighbours. He seemed ok with this, but yesterday, presented me with a letter stating that he was upset with me and that he had told the council and provincial parliament that I couldn't be trusted and that I in all probability would not tell them of his requests. As the chairman of the Milnerton Residents Association and as a Ward Forum committee member who spends all his time trying to get people to obey the law, I found this insulting. My neighbour seemed to be mainly concerned that the value of his property would decrease and that he wouldn't be able to sell it.

I sent an email to the head of environment, Mr Gerber, at PAWC (Provincial Administration of the Western Cape). I pleaded with him to allow the turbine with the proviso that if someone offered to buy my neighbour's house that I would remove my turbine if required. But that Barak Obama can see the peril that faces the world and so is preparing the USA to fight the plagues and restore sanity. I sent the email yesterday afternoon and Mr Gerber replied 1.5 hours later stating that he was happy that I was considering moving the turbine and that I was speaking to my neighbours. He said advertising would not be necessary again and that the documents received would be added to my file.

I prayed yesterday constantly. I went for a Reiki treatment to relax and detox my body. I burnt incense and tried to detox my house. I smoked a cigar last night and drank good Lagavulin Whiskey whilst sitting outside in my new office.

I wrote to Mr Gerber and thanked him for his understanding of the situation. I suppose that with all the "stuff" flying around re new pebble bed and nuclear reactors, that Mr Gerber is used to diffusing tensions. He did this with applomb. I am thankful to him.

In my prayers I asked G-d what the message was with regard to this potential delay. With regard to me fighting with these neighbours. Today my prayers were answered and faith enhanced as I move towards Israel. My neighbours arrived to tell me that they were withdrawing all opposition to my proposal and were leaving their complete trust in me to do what I saw fit. What an incredible miracle. They were very upset with what happened yesterday as well. With the verbal fighting and recrimination. With the accusations. They apologised many times. I could see they had been crying. They told me they had been to Church that morning and asked G-d for His guidance. He gave it to them. To give the turbine a chance. If it is noisy we will try another one. We won't give up until we start restoring this world to its most beautiful state we found it in when we arrived in the Garden of Eden.

Miracle 6: the eco-village project
I went to see the chairman of the Blaauwberg subcouncil as I wished to build an ecovillage in Milnerton and had a site. He said that only two weeks before, someone else had asked him the same question, but without a site. Chairman Bergh us together and now 6 weeks later we are well on our way to achieving our vision. More on this in another mail.

There are other miracles too numerous to mention here.

Let's get to the parashah of the week. In this parasha, G-d tells Moses that he will save the children of Israel, if only they will follow Him. But even though they are slaves, they are happy slaves. Yes, they get beaten from time to time. Yes they get badly treated from time to time. But they get their three meals a day. They get their food and they get their 4 weeks holidays per year. Their children are educated to serve Pharoah and their health funding and retirement is provided for as long as they put in a proper 8 hours per day. They have EGO's and don't need G-d. EGO stands for Edging G-d Out.

Does the last paragraph sound at all familiar in today's time?

G-d has warned us that if we become slaves, he will help us, move from Egypt where we are now - to Israel where we can go. This is not just a physical move which has only recently happened again, but it is a spiritual move as well. Egypt is represented as the "dark place" we find ourself. Where we find that we are enslaved with our responsibilities to watch the latest movies, keep up to date with sports and sports stars, spend our hard earned money on golf clubs and boat trips rather than on our families and on relaxing and expanding our minds. We are experts at soccer, sport, but can't fix starvation or Zimbabwe. The world is doing its darnedest to destroy the physical Israel. Without physical Israel we have little chance of achieving mental, emotional and spiritual "Israel."

Just as Jacob spent over 20 years working for Laban which helped him see the bigger picture so that he could become Israel after "striving with G-d", so too more recently the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, struggled in prison for 20 years from his willingness to die for his people to his realising in the "Israel" (enlightened state) that he could lead his people from slavery to freedom peacefully. It's just that as you can see all that has happened is that his people have moved from one kind of slavery into another. This new slavery includes 100's of adverts selling cell phone music and "funny" tunes and pictures for R20 per week to people who have no money and are starving. They must be selling to be spending so much money on these inane adverts which disrupt an ignorant or uneducated person's life forever. The possibility of this person having the money and time necessary to educate their children and remove them from their slums is spoilt by them spending on the latest cell phone or the latest tune!

The slaves and their masters in Egypt didn't listen. It took 10 plagues to get them to listen. Are we going to wait for these plagues to happen to us, or are we going to do something?

The Jewish sages saw that each plague had 10 or more sub-plagues. We have a plague harassing us now. It is called the financial plague, more commonly known as the financial collapse. It's sub-plagues include:
the sub-prime crisis (caused by banks overlending). Some home owners couldn't make their first (yes first) month's repayment!!
negative equity
major international banks going out of business
major car companies going out of business, or being insolvent, even though in the early 1990's they made electrical cars and could have been ok today. A few years after making these cars, the car companies crushed them!
countries (eg Iceland) going insolvent
the world's money finding its way to the USA and the US$ to buy US treasuries. The USA has said that they will guarantee everyone's capital, but when people start realising that the USA is guaranteeing this capital by doubling the money supply (ie halving the value of the money) and by offering 0% interest, the money will soon find its way elesewhere
the world's central bankers printing vaste sums of money to "bail out" and keep their businesses going. This is going to create massive worldwide inflation and the value of our money will be less.
Other plagues that plague us include:
the slavery plagues: eg 1: to the latest cell phones, computers, ipods, cars - which we don't need; eg 2: to remembering all the names of the soccer league players - how does that help us? to filling up our minds with all sorts of things so that we go around mindlessly, not solving our most critical problems
the pollution plague: eg from cars, planes, cattle, ourselves. Did you know that 3 people produce enough gas to do all their cooking. Why do we need gas mines? Do you know that the biggest emitter of methane gas is cattle and that we can stop this problem as we only really need meat once or twice a month, not daily! Do you know that the single biggest point of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet is at Secunda where Sasol turns coal into oil in a process discovered by German chemists during the second world war? Pollution damages our health. We need the pollution plague to stop
the forest plague: we are destroying forests at an alarming rate. Yet forests are the sources of most of the world's medicines. Trees leach toxins from the soil. Trees/forests have fauna and flora that survive with them. Trees provide shade so that humans and animals can rest. Trees remove carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses from the atmosphere whilst at the same time emitting that life sustaining gas called oxygen. Trees are beautiful to look at and loving to touch. Our chidren can climb trees. Yet we are told in Cape Town that the trees drink our water and must be cut down. And so our beautiful forests on the slopes of Table Mountain and in Constantia / Tokai are being cut down. But these trees don't drink our water. Our water comes from the Hottentots Holland mountain range north of Cape Town, some 90 km from these trees and the rain must fall there for our water in Cape Town. We are told that the Table Mountain trees must go because they are "aliens." 4 million people in Cape Town are also aliens!! They/we were not here 400 years ago. Our forefathers saw that we need trees. The real reason for cutting down trees is simple. Our hardwoods are exported to Thailand to make into furniture. Our softwoods become paper so that we can have shops with 1000's of different magazine titles. I haven't read a magazine in months, yet I am completely up to date with what is happening
the plague of corruption: who doesn't know about this one?
the plague of lawlessness: we expect our citizens and children to obey the law, yet we promote lawlessness. We complain about the state of decay and the lack of the rule of law in our big cities. We complain about the social fabric deteriorating. Yet we are the cause. We have religious leaders leading the way in their big gas guzzling cars when they could easily afford to drive in a small car. We have politicians speeding around in special lanes for their sole use. They wrote the law of the road, but they don't need to set an example and obey the law. We have parents talking on their cell phones whilst overtaking on solid white lines and driving without number plates at top speed, whilst their children sit in the back wondering why their parents keep telling them to obey the law. What a paradox! What a mixed message!
I don't let these plagues get to me. I obey the speed limit. I have a car kit even though my car only cost R95,000. Yet I daily see people in R500,000 cars talking on their cell phones and driving at any speed they feel like. I stop at stop streets. Yet I see parents driving through stop streets outside their children's school whilst fetching them. These same parents, who constantly complain about the state of lawlessness, park on red lines or in loading zones, not realising that their behaviour is the reason for the country's decay - and for their children being addicted to computer games and "tik".

When I wanted to put up my turbine, the people who had turbines in Cape Town already (illegally) told me to just put it up. But that is breaking the law - that they themselves created when they elected this and previous governments! I had plans drawn up. I submitted them and when I got them back two weeks later I was told I needed to do an EIA. I asked for help. I received it. It has been a marvelous experience especially after all the problems I have had with the council over the past 4 years since I joined the Milnerton Residents Association. Now I know how to write and submit an EIA. And I am hoping that I can change the law so that EIA's aren't required anymore in future.

I am not going to wait for a plague to hit me. In fact, since February 4th, 1996, when I met Mirjana, who became my wife, I have been constantly "striving with G-d" like Jacob to eliminate all the plagues from my life and slowly but surely get off the grids - and move to becoming Israel.

I am doing something. I am not going to panic. I will not wait for the rush. I won't wait for the government who after all will only take my money to spend it on me (and themselves).

So firstly I am taking myself off (as much as possible) the electricity grid for the same price as a new car.

Have a great week.



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