Six months ago if you’d have asked Ido Halperin what he did for a living, he would have looked at you puzzled. What, you don’t know? I’m one of the leading names in the field of numerology. I manage the largest numerology site in Israel; I wrote more than 80 articles and get tens of thousands of views each month. That’s what Ido would have said 6 months ago.
Ido invested his life in numerology and now it was paying back with dividends. For 13 years he took many courses in the field. Then he developed and nurtured his own unique methods independently, which led him to breakthroughs making him very much in demand.
That was until six months ago, but since then things have changed, and today, Ido Halperin is as far away from numerology as east is from west. Not only that, but Ido also uses every possible opportunity to spread the message of how far Jews should distance themselves from numerology. Ido now says that it is inconceivable that a Jew, a member of the Jewish people who is above luck, will deal with the realm of zodiac.
The dream that changed my life
But being born to a secular family in Binyamina, and not knowing a word of Judaism, these conclusions weren’t always obvious to him.
“My coming back didn’t happen in one day rather it was a step by step process,” says Ido. “About five years ago, I began to feel an emptiness that drove me a bit closer to Judaism. I began to put on tefillin. Later I began to observe Shabbat and kashrut, and after two and a half years I was already religiously observant. I knew that the Torah holds up the world, so I originally planned to make a lot of money and contribute it to Torah scholars so that I would have some of their merit, but I did not consider learning Torah myself. “
But then he dreamed a life altering dream. “I dreamed it on Friday night,” Ido says. “It was the most lucid dream I have ever had, and I remember every detail … The dream began with my soul hovering in space I couldn’t control its movement. I was feeling rather bored and dull. Then I thought perhaps I’ll start learning Torah! “At that moment,” says Ido, “my soul suddenly flew to heaven, all the sky was painted with beautiful colors, a beautiful melody filled the air, and I felt a joy that was not of this world. A feeling I never had before.”
“And then,” he thought, “how can I study Torah? After all, I work in numerology all day. All the beautiful colors faded away, all the happiness disappeared at once, and my soul again hovered in a dull and boring way. I felt bad about that, so I quickly returned to thinking 'I have to learn Torah,' and immediately – colors and melodies and sounds – and huge happiness all returned as before. “I remember thinking in my heart at the time: 'Look at this! You haven’t yet learned a single word; you only decided to learn and you already feel such happiness! How do you think the soul of a person who has studied Torah all his life will feel? “
In the dream Ido says that he suddenly remembered all the night clubs he loved to visit at the time. “The moment I remembered them, all the sounds, colors, and happiness disappeared again, and again my soul floated, and I found myself entering a dance club, through the ceiling, hovering in the club and watching women and men dancing, I felt so plain and bored I thought to myself, I want to learn Torah, and at that moment I flew back to heaven and saw the songs and the sounds. As far as I was concerned, it was clear that there was no other possibility. I am starting to learn Torah!”
A life of Torah
“This dream had strong impact on me. I remember that after getting up I thought about what I saw and everything was really clear … The first question I asked myself was why did I deserve to receive such a message?” The truth is that until now I don’t know the answer. Maybe it's because I have a merit of my ancestors. I had a great grandfather, a great Tzaddik – Rabbi Kamus Agiv of Tripoli. He was the Rabbi of Or Yehuda and died about 20 years ago. The second thing I said to myself was that I must make a resolution that would change my life, and I decided that from now on I would devote half an hour to Torah study every day. “
But at that time Ido didn’t really know what the concept of 'learning Torah' meant. “I didn’t know what Gemara was and how to learn it, so I started with the books that I had in my library at home – the Path of the Just, “Wondrous Advice”, “The gates of Repentance and “The Ways of the Righteous” … Every day I would sit and read for half an hour, sometimes even for two or three hours. I really loved it”.
Ido notes that at this time he still engaged in numerology, but at a certain stage he began to understand that something was wrong here. “It was hard for me to say this to myself, because it was my livelihood and I invested so much money in it, and it was very easy to rationalize that it wasn’t really a problem. I explained to myself: Seeking to predict the future is against the Torah and prohibited. But some things seem trivial and simple, like certain years that are good for certain moves. One year is a good year for a relationship and a different year is good for business. So why not use the numerological formula? But I understood that if I'm a numerologist and run my life according to these things – then it contradicts Judaism. The role of a Jew is to follow the path of the Torah, and when he follows the path of the Torah he is closer to Hashem and reaches a place that is higher than all these zodiac signs, so why should we descend to the zodiac? It doesn’t make sense!”
Ido Learning Torah At his Yeshiva
Ido also emphasizes: “A Jew can live above everything, in merit of his being a Jew. For example, take Avraham Avinu our patriarch – he was a great astrologer and he was able to read in his stars that he would not have children. But G-d told him; 'Forget everything, put all those things aside, you will have children’. That's exactly the idea. It is not worthwhile for the nation of Israel to follow the zodiac signs, because our prayers, our deeds and charity can change everything. A Jew's way is to pray to the Lord and to fulfill the mitzvoth, rather than relying on luck. “
After much introspection Ido says he consulted with several rabbis, and they were unanimous that he had to leave the profession. “One of them said to me: 'Stop everything, because these are liable to be forces of impurity.'” Another rabbi said, it is woeful that you dealt with it.' “They reinforced my feeling that I really should leave because this is not Jewish.”
“It wasn’t easy,” he admits. “The changes came in one fell swoop, and they were significant changes. I left numerology, at the same time I also quit smoking. I also bought an apartment next to my yeshiva for students returning to Judaism in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem called Binyan Zion. I also started learning Gemara (Talmud) which was very new to me. All these changes happened at once and each could cause upheaval. It was not easy at all, but having faith was very helpful, and I understood that inner happiness is in those things. Thank G-d, after a few months of adjustment, I fit right in. Even now, in the days of Passover spring break, I have a study partner, because I feel I am unable to break away from Torah study for even one day. It literally brings me light.”
And what about a livelihood?
“It's clear that the moment I left numerology I lost a lot of money. You should realize that the two and a half years before coming back I made great progress in my business. I invested tens of thousands of shekels to promote my site and build an Internet course. These are losses I had to absorb but I was able to fulfill the verse “and you should love G-d with all your might” which the sages say means ‘your money’ and I’m happy about that. Meanwhile I’m not worried financially speaking. I’ve been saving for years and I have money on the side. I plan to study all day for two years, and after I acquire a spiritual foundation, I can start getting integrated into work.”
Parallel to this, Ido notes that he also set up a Facebook page to bring merit to the masses. “Because I know there are a lot of people who followed me, I'm trying to correct it by bringing merit to the masses and filling my Facebook page with a lot of Jewish content. The Torah really fills me today and I feel that I am giving pleasure to the Creator.”