Rav Weisshandler interview Rav Shalom Arush
Rav Yitzhak Weisshandler has known Rav Shalom Arush, shlita, for many years. When he met him recently, he asked him if he remembered when he used to learn Likutey Moharan as the chavruta (learning partner) of Rav Berland, shlita.
That memory lead to a whole a conversation, where Rav Arush gave over more of the details of how he came closer to Judaism, to Rebbe Nachman, and last but not least, to Rav Eliezer Berland.
You can hear the conversation in the original Hebrew, by playing the video:
We’re pleased to share with you a translation of their words:
Rav Weisshandler begins: “I remember how I entered Moranu Rav Berland’s room, and how you (i.e. Rav Arush) was sitting on one side, and the Rav was sitting on the other side, and you were discussing the Likutey HaTefilot. Neither you, nor the Rav saw that another human being had come into the room. And this continued for a couple of hours. Do you remember that?”
Rav Arush: “I remember that, but I don’t recall that you saw me.
“I started to draw closer at the end of 5734. Every place I got to, it took me straight to Breslov. At the beginning, I had a tremendous awakening from myself, to start talking to Hashem. This was really a tremendous present. Then, I started to have a lot of questions, like ‘what is this world? Why do we need to die, ultimately?’ And this brought me to start musing about life, and to musing generally about the purpose of being alive.
“Because the way I become closer was via prayer, I started to pray on everything that was in my way.
“At this time, my sister had a problem with her son, and they told her to go to Rav Shlomo Man from Givat Shaul. She told me that she came to the Rav, and that he helped to bring her closer to Hashem. So, I took his details and I also went to him.
“At the meeting, he told me that that I needed to buy the book, The Outpouring of the Soul. I went to find it in the bookstores in Tel Aviv. I thought in my innocence that if Rav Man told me to buy this book, then everyone for sure would be selling it.
But no-one had even heard of the book.
“Through Rav Shlomo Man, I became acquainted with the Chabad chassidut, and then I also got to know Rav Yitzhak Ginsburg, and he learned the books of Rebbe Nachman with me. It didn’t matter which path I took, because in the end, they all brought me closer to Rabbenu, Rebbe Nachman.
“I met Moshe Shavili there, and he wanted to introduce me to a ‘special Rav’, to quote his words, “this is a Rav that even if you come to him in the middle of the night, and you say to him ‘come’ – he’ll go with you!”
“Shavili didn’t know how else to explain to me that he was talking about a Rav who had completely and totally nullified his ego.
“I came to this Rav, Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, and as soon as I got there, the Rav said to me, “Come, we’re going.” We got in the car (and I had no idea how the Rav knew that I even had a car) and we travelled to an orange grove. There, Rav Berland said Tikkun Hatzot with tremendous enthusiasm. I didn’t know what Tikkun Hatzot even was, but I was very happy with the hour of hitbodedut that we did afterwards.
“The Rav didn’t’ say a word to me, Rav Berland simply has ruach hakodesh (Divine inspiration).
“He simply took me out to do hitbodedut, and this made me very happy, that there were other Jews who were doing what I was doing. When I saw that there were other Jews out there who were talking to Hashem without a book, this brought me very close.
“From that time, I started to come to Rav Berland’s house a lot of times, even though I still didn’t really look like the other Jews, because I still had very long hair.”
To be continued…