Rabbi Berland and The Near-Death Experience of Ravital Levy
Don’t miss this amazing story of how a secular Israeli woman had a near-death experience, was judged in the Heavenly court, and got a second chance at life thanks to the intercession of a mysterious rabbi who came to defend her.
THE FIRST NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AT AGE 16
My name is Revital Levy Gilad
I was born and grew up in a traditional, observant, shomer-shabbat home. Until 16, everything was pretty normal; I kept Shabbos, I learned in a religious school and everything was really fine. Then at age 16, one night I had an ‘out of body’ experience. What does it mean, to actually ‘leave’ your body? It meant that I could see myself lying there asleep on my bed.
I had absolutely no desire for something like that to happen, and I’d never even thought about these things before. I’d never even dreamed that something like that could happen, but it did! I could see myself floating above my body, but I had no ability to do anything, and I had no ability to move.
I wasn’t feeling horrible, though, the sensation of floating above my body was actually quite pleasant. Then, I started to rise up, towards the ceiling, higher and higher, but I could still see my body lying there on my bed, in my pyjamas, with my face all white, even though I understood I was getting further and further away from it.
I didn’t understand what was going on as me ‘dying’, and I didn’t understand that my soul was somehow detaching from my body. I’d never heard of anything like that happening!
Suddenly, another guy showed up who just looked like another regular person like you or me, who gave me his hand and then took me up even higher. He said to me: ‘Come!’
He took me higher and higher, really high up. I looked down, and I saw red rivers of fire. I had no idea what that was: red rivers of fire coming out of the night sky. The fire was red, yellow and orange, and the place was huge. But me? I wasn’t able to do anything except look at it all. Then I looked at the man, and he said to me: ‘This is not your time. Go back down. This is not your time.’
I went back and returned to my body. I don’t remember how I returned, I have no idea how it happened, but when I woke up I remembered everything else very well. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened to me.
Time passed, and I didn’t really think about what had happened at all, just that I always knew that I’d been ‘Upstairs’. I remembered what had happened very clearly, but I didn’t really understand it, or put it in its proper context. After two years, I turned 18 and I finished my studies in the religious girls’ school.
Then, I did three years’ of Tichon (vocational college) and afterwards I enrolled in the army.
AFTER THE FIRST NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE REVITAL GOES OFF THE DERECH…
I distanced myself from Hashem and stopped being religious. I wasn’t keeping Shabbat anymore, and that was really bad, but I didn’t experience any ‘bad’ feelings about it, and everything continued on as normal: I did my guard duty, I smoked on Shabbat, everything was normal.
My family was religious, but I now wasn’t. After a few years, I married a secular man when I was 25 years old. I was discharged from the army, and I continued to live a secular life. I gave birth to two children, two boys – but Hashem didn’t give up on me! I thought that everything was OK, and that life needed to look like this.
I never did anything bad to anyone… Just like we hear many people say: “I don’t do anything bad to anyone! I’m a good person! I give charity, I do kindnesses for others. Why would Hashem want to hurt me?”
THE SECOND NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AT AGE 27
But the truth is, they don’t give up on you so quickly in Heaven. When they want someone, they don’t give up on them. At age 27, me, my husband and my two children were asleep when in the middle of the night, I had another ‘out of body’ experience. But this time, I didn’t come back so quickly!
I entered a tunnel of amazing light, really amazing light I was in a tunnel of light and I felt really pleasant; quiet, peaceful, and flooded with light. All of the world became one big light, and I didn’t know where I was. I could hear and I could see, but I didn’t know where I was. I was in a state of heightened consciousness and I had no control over anything. Nothing was in my hands to do.
I didn’t know what they were going to do with me, and I didn’t know where I was, but I knew clearly that I was inside a tunnel of light. This experience continued for a few seconds, when suddenly this ‘light’ began speaking to me. This light had a presence, a good presence, a presence full of mercy and love. It was a caressing light. This light asked me: ‘What’s your name?’
I was so scared, I didn’t answer. It was impossible to speak, completely impossible. I was hit by a thousand shockwaves of fear, and it’s impossible to explain this to someone who wasn’t there. But when you hear the words ‘what’s your name’, there is no way of describing the fear.
Someone is speaking to you, and you can’t see them. I didn’t answer, so a few seconds passed and again he asked me: ‘What’s your name?’ This time, somehow, I found the strength to answer ‘Revital.’ I said my name! After I said ‘Revital’, the whole picture immediately changed, and I found myself inside a great hall with grey pillars. Everything around me was grey, and everything was almost darkness. There wasn’t a lot of light.
STANDING IN FRONT OF THE HEAVENLY COURT
I hadn’t managed to see what was happening, when suddenly three judges appeared in front of me – three awesomely big rabbis. They were seated opposite me behind a big table and they were all dressed in black, apart from one Rav that I saw on my left who was dressed in a white robe, and who had something like a white robe on his head.
I still didn’t understand where I was, but already on my right side, around 20 meters away, my grandfather’s parents appeared. They looked very happy, and had their hands stretched out towards me. They said: “Behold, you have come to us!” They were so happy to greet me, and there were other figures too, that I couldn’t identify, who seemed to be my family members who had already passed away. I knew immediately then that I was in the World of Truth, and I started to cry.
‘THE HEAVENLY JUDGES WERE VERY ANGRY WITH ME’
Immediately, my great-grandparents disappeared and only the judges remained in front of me, the judges of the Heavenly Beit Din (court). I was judged harshly on not keeping Shabbat, and my lack of modesty. The judges were very angry with me. They rebuked me and were angry at me. “Why didn’t you keep Shabbat?” they asked me. “Why didn’t you keep tznius?” They asked me questions, and I didn’t have any answers. What could I say to them? There were no answers; this is the World of Truth, there are no excuses there. What could I say to them?
That I didn’t feel like doing it? That I couldn’t be bothered? That I didn’t have the energy for it? They didn’t tell me that this stuff was real when I learned in a religious school for 12 years! That these things actually happen, and that it’s true that there is a Heavenly court. I cried and begged for my life, but nothing was helping me, and I knew that, because I was in the World of Truth.
Then, they showed me a film of my entire life, everything that I’d done, all the bad things I’d done, everything was set out in front of everybody. Everyone sees your bad deeds. This is what is written: “A person sins in private and they settle his debt in public” – this is exactly what they’re talking about. I’m a living witness to this statement.
They showed me all of my deeds and I was so embarrassed. The only feelings I had was terrible suffering, regret and great embarrassment. I was a soul without a body, and I was also rooted to the spot, and I couldn’t escape. They were controlling everything, and I was so small in their hands, so small and so lost. I had no chance.
It was almost only bad things. This is what went through my head at that time: “If I just had one more mitzvah I could do, just one, even something small…just give me the chance.” I had my face to the floor and I wanted to return to the world that I lived in. I knew there was no chance [of that happening], but that was the only thing I wanted.
All of my existence depended on this one thing. “Let me live, so I can do the mitzvahs that will save me!” I understood, I’m in the world of truth, and I understood with every fibre of my being that the only thing that could help me was more mitzvoth. But I also knew explicitly that since this was the world of truth, there was no chance of that happening, and that I’d reached the end of the line.
They showed me everything that I’d achieved up until now. At the end of the day, I was 27 years old and I hadn’t achieved much! I was full of regrets and suffering that I hadn’t achieved very much, and that I didn’t have enough mitzvahs to protect me. Some good deeds that would stand up for me and say: “Wow! Look at what she’s doing! It’s worth returning her back to the world!” Instead – nothing! I had nothing.
I DIDN’T KEEP MITZVAHS…NOTHING HELPED”
I didn’t keep Shabbat, I didn’t keep mitzvahs, I caused others to sin because I walked around in immodest clothing. Even a short skirt is considered pritzut (attention-grabbing / immodest), and also jeans was considered pritzut. I cried and I begged, but nothing helped. In their eyes, an immodest women is something terrible. A woman is obligated to keep tznius and to keep Shabbat, and this includes lighting Shabbat candles, and keeping the laws of taharat mishpacha (family purity).
All the things connected to keeping the mitzvahs of the Jewish nation – I didn’t do them! And I admit it now. Don’t act like I did! Now, I’m trying to strengthen the public’s [mitzvah observance] to try to atone for my sins. That’s part of my story, but I’m also doing this in order to help other people, too.
So, I continued to cry, and I continued to scream, because I understood that they weren’t going to let me return to the world, and that I wouldn’t see my husband or kids again. The pain was so deep, the yearning was so deep. It’s so deep, it’s impossible to really put the feeling into words. The suffering and yearning that a person who didn’t keep the Torah and who didn’t do mitzvahs, and who didn’t believe in Hashem feels – suddenly he sees everything.
I didn’t think it would be like that. Many people don’t think it will be like that, and that’s why I’m here, sharing my story.
After the terrible film [of my life] finished, that was so embarrassing to watch because everyone saw all of my sins, on my left side they showed me another film that wasn’t good but wasn’t bad. It simply showed me ‘now’.
This was also frightening. I understood that they’d finished the case, my life had come to an end, and that I still couldn’t do anything. I cried and I begged them: “Help me please! Please give me a chance!” But there was no chance. The three judges were very, very angry with me. I didn’t recognise any of them, I didn’t know any of them.
This continued for a length of time that is impossible to describe, as Upstairs there is no clock and there is no time. Only in our world do we have clocks, in order that we should know when to go and pray, and to do the mitzvahs at their appropriate time, shacharit, mincha, maariv – everything at the right time. There, they don’t need a clock. When you finish your task, you don’t need clocks and there is no time.
“THERE WAS NO-ONE TO HELP ME, AND NO-ONE TO DEFEND ME”
It’s eternal life, for good or for bad, gan eden (paradise), Gehinnom (purgatory) or kaf hakela (the heavenly sling, where a soul is repeatedly flung from one end of the universe to the other, with no break.) I was very frustrated by the situation, and I took it really badly. There was no one to help me, and no-one came to defend me, and to say something good about me. There was no-one.
Suddenly, the judge that was sitting on my left side started speaking. He leaned his body towards the other judges, and started conferring with them. It was impossible to hear what he was saying. I didn’t hear because he was speaking to them quietly. I waited for them to finish anxiously, to see what would be with me, and what they would decree on me. What were they going to do with me? I was still feeling very shocked and scared, and crying.
The person who was sitting on my left side, I understood that he was my defender. Suddenly he said to me: “Why do you want to return below?” I said to him: “Who will look after my kids if I die?” The moment that I remembered my children, they gave me permission to go down and see them below, sleeping on their beds.
I saw them sleeping, my husband sleeping, and even my own body lying there on the bed. I saw everything, and my heart broke from crying. My children! And I’m going to leave them forever! “Please, only for the sake of my children, let me go back!” There was silence. My advocate continued to ask me: “What’s your purpose? What are you going to do if you go back down? What will you do, if they free you? Do you promise to make teshuva?”
I cried out: “Yes! Definitely yes!” I didn’t think they would give me the chance to make teshuva. They asked me if I was going to make teshuva, so of course I said yes. I had a chance to come back, to live again!
Then, the defender started asking me again, “Do you promise to make teshuva?” and again I screamed out yes. And a third time, he asked me: “Do you promise to make teshuva?” and again I screamed out yes.
The third ‘yes’, is considered to be a chazaka (an oath, promise) in Judaism, which meant that I had to stand by it, without any tricks and without trying to get out of it, no bribes, just the truth. Only the truth!
REVITAL GETS A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE, THANKS TO HER HEAVENLY ‘DEFENDER’
The moment they freed me and sent me back, I didn’t really understand that they’d just freed me. I just understood that after the third time that I’d said ‘yes’, what I’d hoped would happen had actually really happened. All of me, all of my Neshama, all of ‘Revital’ returned to my body, by way of my nose.
I entered my body via my nostrils! Like it’s written in Genesis, Sefer Bereishit, when HaKadosh Baruch Hu was creating man, He ‘blew into his nostrils the breath of life.’ I could see everything as I passed by, including the inside of my nasal cavity, until I was 100% back in my body. As I settled back into my body, my breathing returned and I took a deep breath in. I immediately opened my eyes, and stood up. I screamed! I cried! I woke up my husband.
I told him that I’d just been in the Heavenly Beit Din! I’d never before even heard of such an idea, that there was a ‘Heavenly Beit Din’, but somehow I knew that’s where I’d just been, and I could already tell other people that: “I’ve just been in the Heavenly court!” It’s impossible to describe the joy I felt when I said that.
It’s impossible to describe the feeling you have when you get your life given back to you. You simply can’t put it into words.
I got up the next morning, and my whole body was shaking from fear. It goes without saying that I hadn’t slept that whole night, but when I actually got out of bed to start my ‘regular’ day, which for all the world just looked like another normal day, I still had the very strong feeling that I’d just come back to life.
THE FIRST TIME REVITAL MAKES TESHUVA
I immediately got on with the job of making some sincere teshuva. I went out and bought myself new, modest clothes, as required, and I jumped into making teshuva with full force. And I made real teshuva… but even so, it was still teshuva based on fear, and is happened very, very quickly. After all, I’d just experienced something that didn’t happen to every person, every day.
Despite everything, HaKadosh Baruch Hu still loved me, He still showed me that out of His great love for me, He didn’t want to give up on me. He could have taken me [from the world] – but He didn’t! It seems as though I was very precious to Him, and I believe that every single Jew is also that dear to Hashem. He’s so merciful, how much time He was prepared to wait for me! Let me describe to you just how long He really waited for me.
Many years passed. This all happened when I was 27, and suddenly – oy vey! – I was 38 and divorced. My husband couldn’t really understand what I’d gone through. He couldn’t speak the same language I was talking any more, I’d seen what I’d seen.
I felt like I was running out of time! God was waiting for me, and I was still a secular woman! Still! I’m telling you this in order to encourage those people who also got ‘there’, [spiritually], only to fall back again. I was ‘there’ and I fell! It’s written that a ‘Tzaddik falls seven times, but gets up again’, so don’t be scared! Get up again! That’s all you have to do, is get up again. Shake the dust off your clothes again, and get up with alacrity! Come back to our Father in shemayim again, because Abba is waiting for you, and He sees everything [you’re going through].
So, I was now divorced, and HaKadosh Baruch Hu helped me to buy an apartment. I had my three children, and I was all alone. I had to work, and even though I earned a living with great difficulty, I was still respectable.
REVITAL FINALLY LEARNS THE IDENTITY OF THE RABBI WHO SAVED HER LIFE
One day, a young yeshiva avreich (student) knocked at my door while I was washing the dishes. I asked him: “How did you get here?” After all, I was on the fourth floor, and there was no elevator. It was summer, it was hot, and he was dressed completely in black. I asked him again: “Where did you come from?” He told me: “Jerusalem.” “And how did you get to Kfar Saba?” I wanted to know. He replied: “I don’t know! But I came here straight from Jerusalem, and I didn’t even knock on anyone else’s door. I came straight you, first!” My apartment was the last one in the building…
So I asked him: “Who sent you?” – I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was saying. He responded: “My rabbi sent me to you.” He went quiet, so I said to him: “Who’s your rabbi?” He took out a picture and showed it to me – and it was the defending advocate from the Heavenly Beit Din, who’d asked me to promise three times that I was going to make teshuva! That was this guy’s rabbi – Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita!
Hashem should protect him and watch over him forever.
This rabbi, this Tzaddik, he was my defender in the Heavenly court! He’d saved my life, he’d got me released, he’d arranged for my Neshama to return to my body. I was in total shock, and I started shaking. I understood that the Rav had come to ask me to make good on my promise, and that this time there couldn’t be any more excuses. I needed to keep my word, as otherwise it seemed to me my time was going to be up.
God had waited for me a long time; He knew that it was hard for me, but He’d still seen my ratzon, my desire [to make teshuva]. A person’s ratzon is very highly valued in shemayim, but nevertheless, we also need to act on it! I understood that my heavenly defender had come to remind me that it was now time to get my act together, and to really make teshuva.
I started telling the avreich everything I could about how big his rabbi really was, but I discovered that he already knew. I wasn’t the first person who’d told this student that his rabbi was a big, holy Tzaddik who’d helped other [secular] people like me, in their time of need.
REVITAL MAKES TESHUVA FOR A SECOND TIME
I immediately made teshuva again – real teshuva, with all my heart. I was like a ‘teshuva bulldozer’, nothing could stop me! I sanctified myself in every way I could. I used to go to work every day, then come home, shut the door, start praying to Hashem and do everything I could to sanctify myself!
I stopped watching T.V., I only read holy Jewish books, and I started keeping Shabbat according to all the halachas. I pleaded with HaKadosh Baruch Hu that He would give me the merit of marrying someone who had true fear of heaven. Three months passed – and indeed, I married a man with true yirat shemayim (fear of heaven) which was another open miracle! To find a single man with real yirat shemayim, who studied at the ‘Dvar Shmuel’ yeshiva of the Rav Greenman, shlita, in Petach Tikva, Hashem should protect him, a yeshiva of Tzaddikim! I merited to find a good husband, and most importantly of all, someone who had yirat shemayim.
Now, all I want to do is to try to rescue the precious, important Daughters of Israel. You should know, these are things that people don’t talk about. I’ve dedicated myself to talking about the lack of tznius (modesty) that’s occurring in so many areas. I want every Jewish daughter to know:
Lessons learnt from the near-death experience
REVITAL’S WARNING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TZNIUS:
Every woman that dresses immodestly, and who draws a lot of attention when they walk around the city streets, she’s surrounded by thousands of destructive angels. And this woman who is ‘burning up homes’ – she creates destroying angels! Every time you go out immodestly dressed, and you draw attention to yourself, you are creating every second and every instant, from every guy that looks at you, another destroying angel!
And that guy also creates a destroying angel for himself, too, who harms his eyes, because he was looking at you! Because it’s also forbidden for him to look at you! And then these destructive angels form a kind of ‘bridge’ between you and this guy, and his destructive angel has permission to harm you, and your destructive angel has permission to harm him!…
Hashem is only merciful and only giving. Just as He sustains you, He also sustains all the destructive spirits that you create. That destroying angel then waits 120 years for the woman who created him to [die and appear] in shemayim, and he plans all sorts of terrible suffering for her there. If the woman makes teshuva beforehand – he disappears! Then it’s possible to erase him from the bad ‘film’ of your life.
It’s possible to erase all of the destructive spirits! Don’t wait for them to start knocking on the door of your Neshama! Don’t wait for them to start ‘paying you back’ during your lifetime!…
…Those people who keep Torah and mitzvoth, they go to shemayim and they’re very happy with their lot. And those people who don’t keep Torah and mitvoth….
I’m here as a witness to tell you, that the day of death, that day is the most terrible of all. There is nothing after it, and nothing else!….All of us have the merit [to make teshuva].
Hear Ravital telling the story of her near death experience here http://b-h.org.il/h_goralit/
Invite Ravital Levy to speak in your neighborhood +972-54-848-7786