Rabbi Ofer Erez shlit”a talks about the importance of continuing to take a part in helping with the expenses of our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a. Despite having raised 1.2 million shekel for redeeming the Rav from prison (which was deposited straight to the court), there is still a heavy fine which has been leveled on the Rav shlit”a. Besides this, every month hundreds of thousands of shekels are needed to cover security, medical, and other costs.
These are Rav Ofer Erez’s words from the Breslov line (9148*):
Never before was there such severity by the court towards a person like towards Rav Berland
“There was very harsh and complicated conduct by the prosecutor [and] the court. I met with many attorneys in the last month alone who said that they don’t recall such severity like the way they behaved with our Rebbe Rav Berland
“Yesterday, we reached an agreement where the court agreed to release our Rebbe the Rav to house arrest. However, the Supreme and District Courts set very, very difficult conditions for house arrest, both from the standpoint of the conditions which restrict the Rav, and from the standpoint of the financial obligations which they placed on us. This means that all of this is in addition to the bail money which was given to them so that the Rav, as it were, wouldn’t flee.”
“The court agreed to reduce the cash which needs to be deposited, because the demand was to deposit 2.5 million, and the court agreed to lower it to 1.2 million in cash. This means that without that deposit the Rav wouldn’t be freed. Likewise, the court obligated us to pay for a security company 24 hours multiplied by 7 days [a week] – also we’re obligated to pay them every two months up front. The security company didn’t request this, rather the court set this so that there wouldn’t be a situation where the security company would stop working with us. Every two months, we need to pay them up front, and these are very large sums. Work was done to find the cheapest company, and this is still very expensive.”
The Rav’s state of health requires constant medical assistance
“Baruch Hashem, the prayers are helping, but the Rav’s state of health requires that he have a male nurse with him every day, who helps and assists medically. Also, doctors will come frequently and check the entire state of health of the Rav. All of this requires a great deal of money.
“This isn’t easy, but from Heaven they are giving us the merit of a rare mitzvah of redeeming captives. At the moment we are waging a total war to ease up the conditions of the Rav. Besides the matter of money, the restrictions which they placed on the Rav are a new invention. The attorneys told me that this is something newly invented to place so many restrictions on the Rav.
“However, the very fact that our Rebbe the Rav is leaving prison to an apartment and we can worry about him medically, that the Rav will have his books, his learning and prayer without people sitting on top of him like they did in recent months – this is a very big thing.
“We hope that we can ease up the conditions of the Rav’s detention. I can’t tell how the procedure will progress, but I credit a lot to our prayers – there is Divine assistance in all our efforts. It’s clear to everyone that we need to do everything to ease this, but no one can say exactly what will be.
“The money doesn’t go to benefit of the court. Either in the end it will return to the Rav, or it will be taken to pay off the fine, because outside of all the procedures, they also placed an expensive fine on the Rav.”
We have here a rare mitzvah of redeeming captives
“It’s possible to give one’s Machatzis HaShekel to any important mitzvah. I had a conversation with one of the Rav’s longstanding students, who said: I don’t know if from Heaven they’re arranging all of this only so that we can have the merit to sacrifice ourselves for the connection to the Rav – we have here a rare mitzvah of redeeming captives.
“Literally, the Rav is captive, and also the way that their acting towards him. I don’t want to get into details, but the Rav is 84 and suffers from so many illnesses. It doesn’t even occur to someone that the Rav could be in such conditions, but we understand that we have here a spiritual war that’s really not simple.
“We need to be very careful with the conditions of his release, since not a few of those involved are looking for a way to make the house arrest fail and to return the Rav to prison. We need to know that the moment that the Rav comes out, they’ll follow after him with ten eyes, just to see one mistake in order to return the Rav to prison.
“After everything, we need to remember that there is a Creator of the world and nothing besides Him, but to ‘know Your ways on earth.’ All of those involved in this, do so with very great self-sacrifice – one needs to know, appreciate, and respect.”
The war for the Rav is complex and on many fronts
“Sometimes questions and problems are raised, but the questions are raised because people don’t know all the details. We have here a complex war in a way that’s not normal, and which is very unusual. This isn’t a normal legal proceeding; on all fronts it’s unusual.
“The two trials most covered over the last year are that of the Prime Minister and that of the Rav. All the time, people are talking about this. We believe that the essence of the fact that we remain united, trying to make more effort in prayers – the matter of saying 7 Tikkun Clalli’s. Hold yourselves together, draw me to you, as Rabbeinu [Nachman] said.
“I saw myself that anyone who now becomes connected to the Rav, tries to help in what he can, to stay together at [prayer] gatherings…with all one’s efforts. To try and rectify things which we need to rectify within ourselves. We all need to do teshuva – the emphasis is on loving one’s fellow – I believe that the Kadosh Baruch Hu will do miracles for us. There is none besides Him; there is no obstacle before the Kadosh Baruch Hu.
“We spoke of this that everyone should try and bring 2000 shekel, but we know that there are people who really have difficulties every day, that 1000 shekel for them is like 2000. This is a mitzvah of redeeming captives which is rare in its importance and level. The more one increases [their giving], the more praiseworthy.
“Twenty years ago, there was an occurrence of financial need in the community, and people said: Let’s go and bring all the money from a single rich person. The Rav said, ‘I want from each person.’ The Rav had an intention in this.
“I have to say, this isn’t 1.2 million. We sat and did a calculation…”
The Rav will still need to pay over 200 thousand shekels monthly for the house arrest which includes guards, full time security team, rent, and medical care.
To Donate for the Rav’s legal and medical expenses click here
See the video of Rav Ofer Erez (in Hebrew)