The editorial staff of the “Zichru Toras Moshe” newspaper of Lelov Hasidus, relate to us that the Admor shlit”a venerates our Rebbe, Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a with all his soul, and expresses unbound admiration for him. The Admor shilt”a regularly requests from his assistants to tell him what is happening with Rav Berland shlit”a.
The Admor in his youth was educated by his grandfather, the Admor Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman ztz”l, and that was the beginning of his drawing close to Breslov. Rabbi Bentzion Apter ztz”l, one of the great Rabbis of Breslov of the previous generation, dwelled in the court of his grandfather Rabbi Moshe Mordechai at the time, and from his waters the Admor shlit”a drank. To this day, he encourages his students to travel to Uman on Rosh Hashanah, and to do much hisbodedus and prayer.
After he became the son-in-law of the Toldos Aharon Rebbe, he moved to Jerusalem, and there he became acquainted with the students of Rav Berland shlit”a, among them Rabbi Chaim Shlomo Rotenberg and Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Salmonovitz. With them he spent many hours at the Breslov “Shul” in Meah Shearim, which is close to the Beis Midrash of his father-in-law, the Admor of Toldos Aharon. And so he would often be found by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Bender ztz”l, and would contemplate him a great deal when he would do hisbodedus at the Kosel (Western Wall).
The connection of the Rebbe of Lelov with Rav Berland
The Rebbe would express unbound admiration for Rav Berland and would often ask his assistants what was happened with him. Several years ago, when people tried to bother Rav Berland, the Admor traveled to the Kosel to pray, and there he met students of the Rav. The Admor said to them with great enthusiasm, “He made thousands of Ba’al Teshuva’s, and he does so much for the Jewish people. Each person is obligated to help him and stand by his side, so that he can do as he wishes.”
They also relate that when the terrible slanders against the Rav were publicized, the Admor responded with unusual severity, saying in a shiur to his Chasidim with great pain these fiery words:
“Rav Berland shlit”a always went through difficult times, and he’s very important, an awesome Talmid Chacham. We remember him from previous years, how he ran a Yeshiva fearlessly and brought ten of thousands to do Teshuva. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the Sitra Achra (the evil side) is making war with him, and inventing falsehoods about him.
“He brought young men out of the bottom recesses of Hell — ‘Raises from the dust the poor, from the trash heap; he will raise the poverty-stricken. To seat him with the noble, the noble of His people’ (Tehilim 113:7-8) — and made them exalted and separated from this world, full of Torah, fear of Heaven, and acts of kindness.
“I remember a long time ago, I saw Rav Berland shlit”a at the Kosel, how he approached it with devukus and exaltation and kissed the stones of the Kotel. Tefilas Mincha [the afternoon prayer] on a regular day by him was a manifestation of holy fire and holy enthusiasm that can’t be described.”
The Rebbe of Lelov: It’s forbidden to be silent about what they’re doing to Rav Berland shlit”a
“This is the work of the evil one which is setting itself up to make war with him, and it’s forbidden to hold back and be silent. We need to express outrage and turn over worlds. We need to talk with those involved to turn over worlds to save him, and to see to talking with everyone possible.
“I ask all those involved to do everything in their power that’s possible for Rav Berland, and to go in the way of Yaakov Avinu with three avenues: a gift, prayer, and war. That is, prayer: that Jews should pray for him and all Israel; gift and war: to try nicely and if that doesn’t work, with protests.”