Rabbeinu Nachman says that because of the greatness of the true Tzaddik, it’s only possible to understand his greatness by way of his Talmidim. These are his holy words (Likutey Moharan 140):
“The Tzaddik himself is impossible to comprehend, because he is incomprehensible, since he is above the intellect. Only through those who are close to him can one understand the level of the Tzaddik. Because through seeing his people, that they are people of deeds, fear [of Heaven] and completeness, in them one can have comprehension and understanding, because the world isn’t so far from them like [they are] from the Tzaddik himself. Therefore, [if] one wants the truth, it’s possible to know the level of the Tzaddik by way of his people.
“This is allegorically like the seal — that the writing which is engraved in it is impossible to read because the letters are in reverse. Only through striking and engraving the seal in wax does one see the letters and images which are engraved in the seal, and does one understand the writing in the seal.”
In this article written by Aviya Kushentski, she brings light to this point from a personal perspective. Aviya begins by writing about her pain regarding the harsh persecution of our Rebbe Rabbi Eliezer Berland shlit”a. However, this isn’t new to the wider public. What is new in her words is that her entire familiarity with “Shuvu Banim” began only through her acquaintance with the Rav’s students. As she herself says, she never saw Rav Berland, and in spite of that she knows with certainty that he is the Tzaddik of the generation.
These are her words:
I think that my story and my impression of Rav Eliezer Berland is a little different than what you will hear or see on the internet…I assume that if you type in the search window the words “HaRav Berland”, the results you’ll receive will be divided into roughly two categories: The first category, as is known, “the good-hearted souls [e.g. slanderers]” who speak dirt about him without end…amongst the members of this category, you’ll find stories, recordings, and perhaps even witnesses to apparently terrible and shocking things that Rav Berland “did.”
The second category is the group of his believers who follow after him through fire and water. And from them, you’ll hear fascinating stories of miracles and wonders which Rav Berland did. You’re liable to see his community’s blind faith and endless love of him who follow after him through fire and water. I need to emphasize that this blind love also put me off at first, because immediately it occurred to me associations of a “cult”…until I merited to know up close the people of his community.
First of all, I point out and state that I belong unequivocally to the second category — those who support, love, and believe in Rav Berland. But by me it is a bit different…I didn’t see (at least in person) any miracle, salvation, or magic which he did. The truth is that I never saw him face-to-face. Aha…and I never spoke to him or gave him money in any way. The truth is that I don’t have so much of an idea of who he is and what he makes happen. Then how did I reach a situation that I’m certain with every nuance of my soul that this man, Rav Eliezer Berland is in fact a Tzaddik? (And I use mild language…in my opinion, it’s appropriate to write here, the “Tzaddik of the Generation”).
Simple…Because I know up close the people of his community (that at the moment, is also my community) already for more than an entire year, and I must note that in my life I never came across people like these. What knowledge, what understanding, what love of the Jewish people! I have no doubt that if all the Rabbis here learned from Rav Eliezer Berland, then he m-u-s-t be the Tzaddik of the generation! Please, do me a favor and just listen to one shiur by Rav Ofer Erez and tell me if it appears to you rational that a person like this doesn’t go in the way of truth. One conversation with Rav Shtern or Rav Shalom Arush and it’s already possible to feel all of the gratuitous love of these people. The inner reasoning, clear and perceptive, which guides them. The concern for others, and the love and fear of Hashem in the most moving and beautiful way possible!
I’m already a part of the community for more than a year as I pointed out, and at the beginning, I was r-e-a-l-l-y concerned and suspicious about everything. I really feared that, G-d forbid, we really were talking about a cult. (I simply want to laugh even when I write the word “cult” because in my time here, I haven’t seen so much as a hint of any sign of a cult).
There is love, equanimity, and helping one another here, and Avodas Hashem in a form of devotion amidst the melody of the soul…There isn’t a quarter of a sign of a cult here! I return every week to my parent’s house and have an awesome relationship with my sister and family, and in truth, so too the rest of the people here!
You don’t have to believe me. You are invited to see for yourselves.
And one last thing — a tip for life (not only in relation to the Rav) — please understand that the media, for the most part, distort things from the foundation. I’m not only talking now about Rav Berland — everything that you see that the media presents. Please I beg you, take everything with a grain of salt. Every program, every newsflash, or interview — it doesn’t matter with what celebrity or politician or whatever…the media presents what it wants to present and not the truth. And I can testify that it doesn’t present the truth on anything connected with Rav Eliezer Berland or his community. Because there’s no chance that all the people I know (and I know a lot here) learned by and were educated by a negative person, G-d forbid. You see this with their affairs.
I wish you to always be closest to the point of truth and to walk in the ways of pleasantness, peace and love!