Following Rabbi Berlands deportation: El Niño – the worst Drought in Zimbabwe for more than a generation

Rabbi Berland at Victoria Falls March 2014

Back in 2014 when the holy Rabbi Eliezer Berland spent a couple of months residing in Zimbabwe, we witnessed the tremendous amount of rain, the glorious Victoria Waterfalls, and the budding economy of the Zimbabwean people.

At the time the Rabbi would love to do his daily hisbodedus meditation in the fields, would often go out for hours into the vast fields adjacent to his hotel, or next to the Victoria Falls, and like King David he would study Torah, pray, meditate and serve his creator, amongst nature.

Rabbi Berland Victoria Falls
Rabbi Berland at Victoria Falls March 2014

The students of the great Rabbi were more than pleased when a family member sent out a beautiful photo of the Rabbi with the background of the vast Victoria Falls as well as pictures of the Rav walking and meditating in the rain. This was sort of a surprise however since the Rabbi has never in his entire career posed for a photo.

The Rabbi "bringing down the rain" at Victoria
The Rabbi “bringing down the rain” at Victoria

Many of you have been following the tribulations of the Rav during the past 3 years in which the State of Israel together with their anti-religious leaders began a libel campaign against the Rabbi to try to prevent him from spreading the teaching of torah and religion in Israel. If you remember, a few days before the holiday of Passover as the Rabbi and his many students and followers were preparing for the Holiday in Zimbabwe, the State of Israel sent out a request and bribe to the country of Zimbabwe to deport the Rabbi and his followers so that they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the holiday together. A group of officers came to the Rabbi’s residence to look at their passports to try to find a legitimate reason to deport them (which later was claimed visa issues), the attendant of the Rav said to them “Beware of this holy man! If he gets deported from here all the rain will stop! Just look at the months he was here what tremendous blessing the country received, nearly every day strong storms which are much needed for the economy. Tell Mugabe that if the Rabbi gets deported there will be no more rain!”

To top this all off the Rabbi in a lecture which took place at that time, two weeks before his deportation, mentioned this story. The recording of his words were then uploaded to YouTube with the title “The frightening things that Rabbi Berland said two weeks before being deported from Zimbabwe”. Hear it below:

(transcription in English: “The police came here after the holiday of Purim and said ‘What is going on here?! What are all these hundreds of people doing here?! What is this holiday you are celebrating?! This is a rukus! Earthquake! Unacceptable!’ so I said to Yaron (the Rabbi’s attendant) explain to them what is this holiday of Purim, 2,400 years ago it happened, but it’s still happening today! Explain it to them, it says in the holy Torah “What was – will be” everything remains the same! There was Achashverosh, King of Persia/Iran and his minister Haman, they wanted to annihilate us, and the rest of the world was silent, today everything remained the same, the Kings and ministers want to exterminate us and the good people of the world are oblivious to it, they don’t realize that they want to kill us, they don’t even know that they are against us. So they (the police) answered us ‘Mugabe loves Jews, Mugabe loves the Land of Israel’, so Yaron turns to them and says “So tell Mugabe that if he deports the Rabbi there will be no more rain!’ that’s what he said, ‘you had a month of flooding rain never seen before!’ So I said explain to them what holiday we had here, maybe they’ll understand… Yaron sat with them and related the entire story of Purim.”

Rabbi Berland arrested handcuffs
Rabbi Berland leaving with “the water”

Two weeks after this recording, the Zimbabwean Police came to the compound where the Rabbi was staying and arrogantly handcuffed the holy Rabbi, later dressing him in prisoner clothing for reasons which they claimed “visa issues”. After two days of being treated like a prisoner he was deported to Johannesburg with hundreds of students right before the Passover Holiday. They left literally “with their matzos in hand” like the exile from Egypt over two thousand years ago.

And then the Plagues began…

The rain has ended; the blessing has stopped. Now, entering into the year 2016 the New York Times is calling it “the worst drought in more than a generation”. And as the rain stops so does the crops and the exports which support the entire Zimbabwean economy, Bloomberg Business is calling it the “South African Food Shock”, The UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently announced that about 1.5 million Zimbabweans needed urgent food aid due to the famine, while El Nino has effected some neighbouring countries as well, strange as it may seem, Zimbabwe is of the worst effected country in the region, farmers in Zimbabwe are weeping over their dry lot. To top this all off, the electricity in the country has trickled off together with the great Victoria waterfalls that were generating it (Reuters), the Falls which were once a tourist “hot-spot” generating much financial revenue for the country and named “The largest waterfall on the Planet” making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is becoming a dry wasteland (see comparison pictures of the waterfalls before and after).

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The drought which has been given the name “El Niño” has taken the country by “storm”.

All this they could have foreseen and prevented had they respected the great spiritual leader. Even the bible relates that Jacob left Haran the commentators teach; “When the Tzaddik Jewish Saint leaves a place it has an impact. For when he comes to a city, he is its Glory, he is its Illuminance, he is its Blessing; When he leaves the city, so leaves its Glory, its Illuminance and its Blessing” (Rashi Genesis 28:10). Certainly this only depends on how the Tzaddik was treated in the place, if like Joseph he was thrown in the dungeon and there was perpetuated a sexual libel against him, while given degrading nicknames by the media, then certainly they will taste the “7 years of famine” like they did. But if they later apologize, take him out of the dungeon, and give him the respect befitting of him as a king, then certainly they will receive the 7 years of blessing and furthermore can merit being the “suppliers of the entire world”. Like the Rabbi said in that same lecture “I want to bless them to be the richest country in the world”, and that is probably the reason he chose to come to Zimbabwe in the first place – but they rejected it.

The Tzaddik always forgives those who harm him and pray for their good, he is willing to suffer for the worlds benefit, and it pains him to the core to see any human being suffer. Heaven, however, does not forgive so easily, rather pays evenly for the suffering of the righteous.

Now that the Rabbi is back things ought to get better for the region; it all depends on how G-ds messengers are received by the people.

It’s all a matter of choice. We pray for you Africa.

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UPDATE:  After publishing this article an  interview was held with an Israeli businessman in Zimbabwe who has ties with President Robert Mugabe’s niece. Holding a prominent position in the Zimbabwean churches, and understanding that the drought is caused by their treatment of the holy Rabbi, she has been begging him for some time to get her in touch with Rabbi Berland so that she can ask forgiveness in the name of her uncle and all the Zimbabwean people. Recently he managed in arranging a meeting between her and Rabbi Berland,  she travelled to Johannesburg met the Rabbi and asked forgiveness…

See and hear about the meeting on the Kikar Hashabbat website by clicking here

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