Is God an abuser? Conversation with a rabbi

Dear Rabbi,

Thank you for sending the links to Rabbi Manis Friedman’s talks. I watched the first video and here are my thoughts:

He told the story of Abraham sacrificing his son to explain how women should answer if God instructed them to dump their husbands. I don’t see the connection or similarity at all so perhaps you can offer one.

He advised that the women were to go with their husbands if God told them to dump them. How does this have anything to do with Abraham complying with God’s demand to sacrifice his son?

The story of Abraham brings up huge issues for me. It shows a God that is demanding and cruel that he has the need test the belief of his people. So often in the bible, God is described and describes himself as an angry and vengeful God, even a jealous God. A fearful God is not a God I want to believe in which is the God that traditional religions worship.

If God is so easily offended and so acutely sensitive, he cannot be a God of strength and unlimited power. This God is more offended than I am that I cannot possibly put my faith in a God that is weaker than me. This God finds everything offensive, from eating on glass plates that aren’t kosher, to shaking hands with women, to judging women ‘unclean’, to not switching on lights on Shabbat, to what women should wear. If any man dictated what I wore, judged me on my shoulders showing, my hair, what I should eat, decided what I do with my body, it would make him the ultimate abuser.

In our book When Loving Him Hurts, we have what we call The Bully Barometer. It’s a 16 point check list where women can mark their relationship as a way to find out if they are abusive. If you read through this list, most of them apply to a God defined in the bible.

  1. Does he criticize you constantly and no matter how hard you try to please him it isn’t good enough?
  2. Does he constantly blame you for all his problems or anything that goes wrong for him?
  3. Does he ridicule you when you are alone and in public, even if that ridicule is hidden in humor?
  4. Does he refuse to discuss problems, accuse you of being unstable or making things up if you try to force the conversation?
  5. Does he undermine your opinions and your feelings and undervalue your achievements?
  6. Does he constantly criticize your friends and try to prevent you from seeing them?
  7. Have you given up important activities such as hobbies or sports or people to please him?
  8. Does he flirt with your friends or tell you how much better they are than you to make you feel insecure and unwilling to see them?
  9. Does he constantly criticize your family and try to prevent you from having contact with them?
  10.  Does he constantly accuse you of flirting or having inappropriate contact with other men?
  11.  Does he manipulate you with money by withholding it or making you spend your money on him?
  12.  Does he constantly demand sex when you are unwilling and accuse you of not loving him if you do not have sex with him?
  13.  Does he try to force you to do sexual acts with him that you are uncomfortable with?
  14. Does he withhold sex to punish you for making him angry?
  15.  Does he threaten to leave you if you displease him?
  16.  Does he have affairs with other women?

The God I believe in is one that resides in each of us. It’s a God that is kind, loves unconditionally, does not believe in sin or punishment. As humans we make mistakes and all that is required is correction. They are not sins that require punishment, sacrifice or the need to earn God’s love. We are here to learn, not earn. If we are created in God’s image, we have God’s attributes. Love, truth, unlimited power and are invulnerable. We do not live at the effect of the world but at the effect of our thoughts. Nothing outside of us can affect us. Our world is a projection of our perception and our perception is what our belief system is.

No one is better or worse than anyone. Comparisons and judgments are an alignment with the ego thought system whose foundation is lack, loss, limitation and grievances. When we align with our right mind, our God mind, we hear the voice for God. Truth, love, kindness and joy.

Any form is meaningless. If we see a world of separate bodies and rely on our five senses, we are blind to the unity of God, to our source and our unlimited power. God created us like himself and so we have his attributes. This is why lashon hara is meaningless. If we are taught that words can hurt, we argue for our limitations and get to keep them.  We reinforce our belief that we are weak and live at the mercy of a merciless world. No one has the power to disturb our inner peace unless we give them permission to do so.

We get to choose what thought system we want to follow every moment of our life. It’s a choice between the tyrannical ego thought system based on fear that lives in the past and future, demands sacrifice, limited resources and scarcity, and that if someone wins another has to lose, or the one of our inner guide, our right mind, our big Self. A thought system whose foundation is unlimited abundance, joy, peace, love, truth.

There are only two emotions, fear and love. Fear limits, love extends. Following the ego thought system is no different to having faith in a tyrannical God. One that makes demands and rules that when interrogated, make no sense. Belief in this God requires one to suspend critical thought. To follow him is to reinforce fear and the belief that we will not earn our way to heaven unless we do so. Heaven is not ‘up there’, neither is God. We get to choose heaven every moment by choosing a loving God that resides within us. Choosing the ego thought system is no different to choosing to believe in a tyrannical God who watches and judges our every move. That to me is the definition of hell.



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Zucchini, Really?

For the longest time I used to think zucchini were bland, boring and banal. Was I wrong! My sister changed my mind when she told me how they transform the flavor of chicken soup when added to the stock. I tried it, and was amazed at the layer of flavor they gave. With my new found respect, I wanted another way to use them.

Just like the taste of kale is changed when finely chopped, the flavor of zucchini is released when sliced into ribbons. Use a vegetable peeler to slice fine long ribbons, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add zucchini, crushed garlic always adds a kick, salt and pepper. Toss gently. They cook really quickly. Delicious with everything. Even on their own!


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16 Signs Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

The Bully Barometer in our book, When Loving Him Hurts is a useful checklist to evaluate whether or not your relationship qualifies as emotionally abusive. If you say yes to twelve or more of the items in this list, your relationship qualifies as abusive.    Download free copy The Bully Barometer

If you are in an abusive relationship, When Loving Him Hurts will help you understand that abuse is not something to be ashamed of. It hovers in the shadows and secrets of many marriages and relationships. It includes words that cut like knives and humor that’s sugar coated arsenic. Verbally abusive relationships and emotionally abusive marriages are about sexual wounding, humiliation, financial manipulation, threats of rejection and alienation from all that makes you secure.

Rebuilding self-esteem after an emotionally abusive relationship requires an understanding of why and how it happened in the first place. Most abused women are codependents and codependency is bred in childhood.  Codependents equate love with need.  That unless they are working like a slave for a man it isn’t worth anything. The meaning codependents give their lives is derived from saving someone else’s. ​Codependents are never attracted to healthy men because their pathology is that of a codependent.  They  need a damaged wounded man in order to prove that she can save him.

Codependents have poor self-esteem and as a result the insults and dismissive behavior don’t strike them as outrageous or unacceptable. They are quick to blame ourselves and resolve to work harder to gain the recognition they crave. Their currency is approval. At any cost. Even to the cost of their lives.

Healing requires 3 things:

If you are feeling hopeless, helpless and powerless and have a DESIRE to change what you have been doing.

You are DETERMINED to change attitudes and actions that hamper you and nurture those that help you become a master at creating the relationships you deserve.

You are CERTAIN that the seemingly impossible is possible.

If I could do it, so can you!

If you would like to find out more about my courses or if you need help with any relationship concern, please contact me on




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How To End Codependency Videos

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Finding The Golden Goose In Abuse – how to heal from emotional abuse

You know how you thought that when you met the man of your dreams he would change? And he did. For the worst. But you still held onto him because you believed that having anybody was better than having nobody. No matter how he treated you, you believed that if you worked just a little bit harder, had one more conversation and a little more time, he would change. You were determined to work out the magic formula that would transform him.  It was the power of your love that would realize his potential – if only he would just listen!

I, like you, a victim of abuse, believed that all I was worth was a man who beat me, punched me and cheated on me. I shrunk each time I heard, “first time a victim, second time a volunteer,” “if you go back you deserve what you get” and “why don’t you just leave?”

It took seven long years before I accepted I was an abused woman. It seemed impossible that I could be one or that my husband was an abuser. He was far too rich, too educated, and too sophisticated. I came from a prominent political family, was the mayor’s daughter and was far too affluent to be a victim of abuse. After all, abused women lived in poverty-stricken areas, were uneducated and their abusers were skin heads with facial scars and missing teeth.

Weren’t they?

Lifestyles of the rich and vicious

My opinion changed dramatically one night when I found myself on the sidewalk, bleeding, my clothes torn. He had tried to put a cigar out on my cheek, bit my mouth until it filled with blood and tried to choke me. I had no idea where I got the strength but I managed to break free, picked up the emergency remote and ran out of the house. In South Africa, I lived in a gated community with security guards roaming the streets. I was safer on the streets of Johannesburg, the crime capital of the world, than in my own home. No sooner had I pressed the button when the headlights of the patrol car appeared at the bottom of the drive way. While I waited for the police to arrive I asked,

“Is it unusual to receive a call like this from this area?”

“No,” the security guard replied. “We receive more calls from this area than any other”.

That was my first in a long list of beliefs that changed.  Abuse is a great leveler. It reaches everywhere and everyone.

Another belief in need of correction was that of my fairy-tale endings. As abused women, we refuse to give up on “happily ever after” despite the evidence that proves otherwise. We cling to the belief that our beast will turn into the prince, the frog will magically transform when kissed and our Knight in Shining Armani will whisk us off into the sunset.

Or is there a different story?

My story is your story because abuse only has one story.

Most of us abused women are codependents. We equate love with need and unless we are working like a slave for a man our love isn’t worth anything. Our pathology demands damaged, wounded men to prove we can save them.

When I finally accepted I was an abused woman, I was riddled with shame. It was a crippling, confusing shame. I wanted the hands that beat me to comfort me. How did I explain that to myself or anyone else? I “loved” and wanted a man who kicked me, pulled out bunches of my hair and spat in my face. “It’s like wanting to hug a shark – why on earth would anyone do that?”

It took a third abusive marriage for me to finally understand that the common denominator was me. Until I took responsibility for my contribution to the dance of abuse I was destined to repeat the pattern.

The Golden Goose

 I was living alone yet still feeling like a victim, stuck in the story of what had happened to me. Despite my love and commitment, I was cheated on. My devotion for which I expected applause and reward had resulted in violence and lies.  Life wasn’t fair. But the only voice I was listening to was my own. I had begun to emulate my abuser in that I was abusing myself worse than they ever did. That was a wake-up call.

There is always a payoff to self-destructive behavior and for me it was that as long as I blamed and complained I didn’t have to take responsibility for my life. That sickened me. There is nothing more dis-empowering than being a victim. I could only imagine what I could achieve if put all my time and energy into myself and realized my own potential instead of my men. In that instant I became my project.

I read every self-help book, attended Kabbalah classes, and even went to an ashram in India in search for answers. Slowly and painstakingly my search moved from outside to within and a new value system emerged. Everything I had thought was valuable and had assigned meaning to became insignificant and everything I believed was true, wasn’t.

Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled that throughout our lives our sick side and our healthy side battle each other. The sick side is the insane voice of the ego that never shuts up. It’s the running commentary of labels, judgments, criticisms and comparisons that assigns meanings to every object, situation and event. It keeps us locked in past and future where fear, guilt, pain, loss, lack and conflict reign. It constantly feeds us lies base on our insecurities and we react to them as if they were true. It is the ultimate abuser.

The healthy side is the place deep within that resonates with truth, love and peace.  It’s the place where we experience an “aha” moment as a truth lands perfectly or experience the magnificence of nature. It’s the voice of wisdom that whispers when we are still. This is the voice that heals us –  not the tyrannical voice of the ego.

Abuse taught me the power of choice. I get to choose what thoughts I want, what feelings I want and who I want in my life. No one can rob us of our inner peace unless we choose to allow it.

I am not for a minute saying that changing your world view is easy. It takes work, commitment and dedication. I struggled for years with abuse and one of the reasons I co-wrote When Loving Him Hurts was to short-circuit other women’s journeys. If I could go from having zero self-esteem to moving across the world and publishing three books, what can you achieve? My first book, Hot Cuisine, was about men and food and my first client in LA was Elizabeth Taylor. In 2015 I was invited by my ex-therapist, Sue Hickey, to co-write When Loving Him Hurts and the following year we wrote The Affair.

Do you have any idea what that felt like when my ex-THERAPIST issued that invitation? To co-write a book with someone you hold in the highest regard when for years you believed you were worthless? I still tear up when I think about it.

I have since formed a non-profit organization called The Women’s Voice Project to help abused women. I get to go out every day and help make a difference in people’s lives.  Abuse gave me my life purpose. It was how I discovered my worth and how you can discover yours.

It requires a choice.

Today you can choose it.

If I found the golden goose in abuse, so can you.




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Abusive Relationships

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Shabbat Shalom! Challah with Streusel Topping NO WORDS!

If you are looking for the epitome of food for the soul, look no further than this sensational Challah recipe with a crispy streusel topping. If anything is left for the next day, toast it. OMG!!!!

Yeilds 2 loaves
9 cups flour
3 pkts rapid rising yeast
1 cup sugar
1 Tbls salt
3 extra large eggs beaten and 1 extra for brushing challahs
½ cup oil
4 cups warm water
Option of poppy and sesame seeds

Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the
liquids. Add the 4th cup of warm water as you need it.


Knead well, about 5 minutes. Paint with a little oil to prevent the dough from drying out. Cover with
plastic wrap and a dish towel. Place in a drought free area and allow to rise till doubled in bulk.








Punch down and roll the dough loosely into a long thick sausage. Divide in half and with the one
half, divide into three equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a long sausage, pinch the ends of the
three pieces together, tucking it gently underneath and braid.


Secure the other end in the same way. Repeat with the other piece of dough and place them both on a greased baking sheet. I use the grill in the oven covered with foil. It’s easier to fit them both.


Paint with the beaten egg and sprinkle with either with poppy seeds and or sesame seeds or streusel
topping. Allow the breads to sit for 30 minutes.


Pre-heat the oven to 180c and place a dish of water in the bottom of the oven. This will give the breads a wonderful crispy texture. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Streusel topping
1 stick butter
Approximately ½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
Heat butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and sugar to create streusel. The texture should be more lumpy than fine.

Good luck waiting for them to cool. They are irresistible and with butter, sigh, gasp, swoon!



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