Chai Kampo, Now in the Conversion Process, in an Amazing Story of How the Tzaddik Drew Him Close

“My name is Chai Kampo, and I am from Tel Aviv.  My mother is from the Philippines and my father from Thailand.  I was born in Israel.”  So begins Chai Kampo to share with us his amazing story of drawing close to Judaism and to our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a.

“In the army, when I was in an officers’ course, I became stronger, and I saw what is Judaism, and I feel Jewish.  I’m now in the process of conversion.  When I come to prayer and I say to people that I can’t complete a minyan, my heart pains me.  I cry, really I cry, cry that I’m not a Jew.  Sometimes they remind me: ‘Chai, you’re not a Jew, you can’t keep Shabbat.  I cry sometimes.’

“In the beginning, when I tried to pray kriyat Shema, I wouldn’t succeed.  I cry, I cry, ‘Creator of the World, give me strength to pray that I should succeed in saying the words as is needed.”

Interviewer: “Bezrat Hashem, the conversion process should be quick.”

Chai: “However much time is needed.

“I was distant from Judaism.  My mother is Catholic, my father is Buddhist, and my two brothers are atheists – far from Judaism!”

Interviewer: “How did you begin to draw close to Judaism?”

Chai: “I always felt that I am a Jew in soul.  I joined the army and there I saw for the first time what is Judaism – Chagim (holidays), songs.  I said, ‘Wow, how beautiful this is!’  Then they drew me closer, said to me, ‘Come with us.  Pray with us, see what this is.  See these Chagim.  This is how we pray, this is how we bless.  See, we bless on the small things, bless on having risen in the morning.’

“I said, ‘Wow, how beautiful this is.’  Then I started the conversion process in the army.  I reached the end of the process.  This was at the age of 18.  Now I’m 26.

“I’m now found outside the house of the holy Rav Berland.”

Interviewer: “How did you come here?”

Chai: “On one of the days, I prayed in Tel Aviv Shacharit at sunrise.  After the blessing of the Kohanim, I remembered Rav Berland and began to pray for him with true heavenly intention.  Another second [and] I cried.  Then I see Rav Berland in front of my eyes, and he screams at me and says to me, ‘Come, come, come…’  And I’m trembling all over.  My soul is trembling.

“I got up from the prayer.  I can’t continue.  I say, ‘Wow, wow — who is this?’  I began to ask about him, who is this Rav.  I understood that he is a Tzaddik, holy of holies.  That day I slept, and again I dream about Rav Berland, and he says to me, ‘Come, come here.’

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The following day I once again dream about him, but the dream is longer.  I see Rav Berland in a very large and well-lit room, and there are full of people there like a shiur Torah, but the Rav sits in the middle.  He says to me to come to him.  I come to the Rav and he asks me, ‘What do you want?’

“I tell him, and he begins to scream at me, ‘What do you want?  What do you want?’  And I tell him, and he continues to ask, ‘What do you want?  What do you want?’  And I tell him from my entire heart.

“Then my alarm clock begins to beep.  I say to my alarm clock, ‘Wait a moment.  I’m with Rav Berland.’  In the midst of the dream, I tell the alarm clock to wait a moment.  And the Rav continues to ask me, ‘What do you want?  What do you want?’  I tell him and then I got up.

“The following day, I once again dream about Rav Berland, and he says to me the same thing.  ‘What do you want?  What do you want?’  I said, ‘That’s it.  A third time, this is from Hashem – Rav Berland is calling me.’

“I said, ‘If Hashem wants, I will meet him.’  I go to a kiosk, where I always buy things.  I say to myself, ‘Let’s ask a person in Tel Aviv; let’s ask a chance person, perhaps he will bring me to Rav Berland.’

“I ask him, ‘Do you know Rav Berland?’  ‘Yes, he is holy!’  I continue asking him, ‘Then how do I get to him?  Do you know how?’

“He answers, ‘I have a telephone number of someone.  It seems to me that he will help you.’

“I take the telephone number, call.  The person doesn’t answer.  At night he returns to me and asks me what I want.

“’I want to meet Rav Berland!’

“He asks me, ‘What is your reason?  What do you want?’  I begin to tell him the story, and he mamash gets excited by the story and gives me the address and the time.

“Now I’m here.  I came to prayer with Rav Berland!”

Interviewer: “Is this the first time you saw Rav Berland?”

Chai: “Yes!”

The obstacles to the Tzaddik don’t end with the departure for Jerusalem

Chai: “Then I come here to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.  I try to catch a taxi.  Don’t succeed.  A half hour and no one consents to [take] me.  They say they don’t want to travel there.  After a half hour, I don’t relent.  So I fight, fight.  In the end, someone took me.  I reach here.

“Here, by Rav Berland, I meet Rav Nachman Hurwitz.  I tell him the story.  He helps me.  We walked around here.  He brought me lunch.  There, we opened a table, and I begin to tell everyone like I am telling you here, to tell everyone the story.  Everyone is inspired, everyone is happy.

“It was great that there was inspiration.  The fact that I reached here, I feel that I have drawn closer.  I feel at home!”

Interviewer: “You don’t want to leave this place and return to Tel Aviv?”

Chai: “No!”

Interviewer: “Then you will come tomorrow to see the Rav?  Are you staying here?”

Chai: “Yes.  I prayed so hard that I should meet him!”

Chai backtracks to tell about the conversion process which he began at age 18, only that he didn’t complete it, and now he is finishing it:

“So I did a conversion process but didn’t finish it to the end.  I was missing the Beit Din.  It seems that my emunah (faith) wasn’t 100%.

“I am a coach for Thai boxing, and I always relied on my hands, and after five years I went through an accident.  I’m walking in the street and they ran me over, threw me into the air.  I can’t move, not my hand, and not my shoulder – nothing.  Then the Master of the World was revealed before me – he put in front of me religious people.  Everyone who was around me was religious.

”I said, ‘Wow, what is this?’  I began to draw closer to the Creator of the World.  I’m wandering around at night.  Suddenly I see some synagogue.  I said, ‘What is this?  How beautiful!’

“I came to pray and suddenly found a synagogue, and everyone is helping me, strengthening me.  The Rabbanim are helping me: ‘Come to a Torah shiur.’  Now, baruch Hashem, I go to a Torah shiur every day, I want to, but I still don’t put on Tefilin, but I pray three prayers a day.”

Interviewer: “How do you feel that Rav Berland brought you close from afar, prayed for you?”

Chai: “Amazing!  It’s unbelievable.  I don’t believe that I managed to come here.  You saw me.  I prayed hard that I should meet him!”

Interviewer: “Can you describe what you saw when the Rav gave over the shiur?  Which room was this in?  How did it appear in the dream?”

Chai: “The room was exactly like it is here!”

Interviewer: “The home of the Rav?”

Chai: “Like the synagogue of the Rav, in the Prayer Hall exactly!  And he sits in the middle.”

The video interview of Chai in Hebrew:

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