EMERGENCY FUNDRAISING APPEAL FOR RAV ELIEZER BERLAND, SHLITA
“As he is now in a very difficult situation, we are obliged to remember: ‘One who helps his friend to make teshuva, He owes him his soul’ – the words of Rav Yitzhak Dovid Grossman, shlita
The eternal words of the Rambam state: “Pidyon Shivuim (freeing prisoners) takes precedent over helping someone to make a living, or to get out of poverty, or helping with their other needs. There is no bigger tzedaka than pidyon shivuim” – as Rav Yitzhak Dovid Grossman, shlita, the rav of Migdal HaEmek and head of the ‘Migdal’ institutions has reminded us.
As we’ve already written elsewhere the words of the Rabbi’s, each of us is obliged to open his heart to the plight of our saintly teacher, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, as Chazal writes: “One who makes an opening for his friend (i.e. helps him to make teshuva], he owes him his soul.”
Rav Grossman explains: “I’ve known Rav Berland, shlita, for 40 years, and I know how much mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice) he’s put into helping Am Yisrael. He’s been engaged in helping people to make teshuva and to bring Jews closer to Hashem. He’s sacrificed himself for every Jew, so now that he’s in distress, we’re obligated [to help him], as it says: ‘He owes him his soul.’”
Am Yisrael! Day after day is passing, until we’ve already reached the holy Chanuka festival. The Gaon and the Tzaddik Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, is still sitting in prison. It’s forbidden for us to be ungrateful and to forget all of the self-sacrifice that the Rav has undertaken on behalf of us all. Even those of us who don’t know the Rav personally, in truth we’re still all obligated in the mitzvah of redeeming the Tzaddik, who has been sacrificing himself to sweeten the judgments hovering over all of Am Yisrael.
Before long, the Rav will have been imprisoned for almost a year – which is a very difficult trial at the Rav’s advanced age, and in his current state of ill-health. While he’s sitting in prison the days continue to tick by.
Now, a golden opportunity has been presented to us, something that we’ve been waiting for throughout all the long years of the Rav’s exile.
It’s now possible that the Rav has reached a stage in the judicial process where he could be freed, with Hashem’s help. He really could be freed very soon, and so we’re requesting that everyone, without exception, every member of Am Yisrael, every Jewish man and woman, should donate 1,000 shekels.
If a person needs to take a loan to fulfill this mitzvah they should do so; alternatively, they can pay with tashlumim, or staged payments, or take the money from their savings – whatever is easier for them. But the payment should be made with the intention that it’s part of that person’s tzedaka expenditure for Chanuka, Purim and even Pesach. (That’s why it’s possible to pay out the 1,000 shekels with staged payments.)
Each person needs to pay 1,000 shekels, in order to free the Rav as quickly as possible. If we answer this call, it’s possible that the Rav could be freed within a week or two.
As it was written about Yaacov Avinu, in Parshat Vayishlach, [we need to counter the dark side] with prayer, gifts and war. That’s why it’s necessary to donate 1,000 shekels in order for the Rav to be freed before Tu B’Shvat, and possibly even before the 10th of Tevet.
We’re asking everyone to dig deep and to make this happen. Bezrat Hashem, if there are even a 1,000 people who will answer this call, we can free the Rav before the 10th of Tevet.
It’s stated in the halacha that on Chanuka, it’s the custom for poor people to go around the houses and to request tzedaka. As the BACH writes, since we were negligent in the Temple’s work, we were punished by the Temple service being lost, and the rectification for this is to raise up (i.e. light) the candles, as though it was the Beit HaMikdash.
The Pri Megadim, another commentator, writes that one of the important ways of achieving this rectification on Chanuka is by doing chesed, and particularly by giving tzedaka. How much we can merit, spiritually, if we wake up and grab this mitzvah, especially for such an outstanding Tzaddik like Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita!
As Chazal say in the Gemara, Masechet Shabbat, 139a, “Jerusalem will only be redeemed via tzedaka.” Chanuka is the most fortuitous time for awakening the Geula, because the days themselves are from the source of redemption. As we see, the Chanuka candles themselves are rooted in the work done in the Beit HaMikdash.
That’s why on Chanuka, we should increase the amount of tzedaka we give, because this brings our personal redemption, and the redemption of our people.
The organization that was set up under the authority of Rav Ofer Erez, shlita, to help pay the Rav’s legal costs now owes over a million shekels to the lawyers, if they don’t get this money soon they cannot continue.
Everyone who possesses a Jewish heart, please get involved and donate. The Rav has requested that each person pay a minimum of 1000 shekels*. As it says in the Gemara, Masechet Shabbat, page 156, ‘tzedaka saves from death’.
Anyone who gives tzedaka will be saved from death, mamash.
So great is tzedaka, that it cancels Hashem’s anger against the world, and draws kindness into the world instead, until the revealing of our holy Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, Amen.
As Rebbe Nachman once said: “Nobody ever lost out by giving money to the Tzaddik.”
You can donate by credit card via paypal through Rav Ofer Erez’s site by clicking HERE.
– UPDATE: click HERE for English donation page.
or by calling +972-2-650-2929
* 1000 shekels is roughly equivalent to $260 US dollars.
letter in the Ravs own handwriting: