The first meeting in 40 years, between Rav Berland and Rav Reuven Elbaz, shlita
Recently, the Sephardi gaon and the tzaddik, Rav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, attended a brit that was held in the Beit HaRav, (the temporary shul that’s been created at the bottom of Rav Berland’s apartment block in Jerusalem).
Rav Elbaz is the head of the Or HaChaim Institutions, which have around 350 branches all over Israel, including day care centers, yeshivas, synagogues, batei midrashot, schools, rehabilitation centers, professional training seminars, soup kitchens, gemachim, programs for prisons, nursing homes and hospitals, and a crisis hotline
Following on from that brit, a meeting was arranged between these two holy Tzaddikim, in the home of Rav Berland, shlita. The love and the esteem that these two holy Tzaddikim feel for each other was very clear to see. At the start of the meeting, Rav Berland said to Rav Elbaz:
“We haven’t met for 40 years, from [the Hebrew year] 5738 until today, 5778.”
Rav Berland continued:
“Today, we’re meeting to bring together all the different sides (lit: ends), and all the sections, to arrange everything, and to emerge united before Am Yisrael. Am Yisrael will see this achdut, (unity), and the will run [towards it]. The moment that Am Yisrael sees this achdut, everyone will make teshuva. They will observe the Shabbat and they will lay tefillin.
“Every Jew wants to lay tefillin. Every Jew wants to keep Shabbat. This is in the bones of every Jew, as we learned from the bones of Yosef, in the parsha. The substance of every Jew yearns just to serve Hashem, but there are all these difficulties and confusions [preventing it].
“We need to respond to each Jew’s difficulties and questions, so no difficulties [preventing them from serving Hashem] will remain.”
Rav Elbaz responded:
“The Zohar says that not one person from Am Yisrael descended into the tumah (spiritual defilement) of Egypt, as Am Yisrael swore to remain holy.”
Rav Michael Goll, the Rosh Yeshivah of ‘Maginei Eretz’ was also at this historic meeting, and he added:
“Rav Elbaz has said that he won’t leave the gates of his yeshiva (Yeshiva Or HaChaim), but when he heard that the Rav (Berland) was going to be sandek at the brit, he was happy to come.”
Rav Elbaz then blessed Rav Berland: