The opposition against Rav Berland starts to heat up again
You might be wondering why Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, failed to appear in Ma’alot for his scheduled appearance on December 26, 2017. If you read the comments below THIS POST, you might also be wondering why the venue in Beer Sheva had to be changed – last minute – on two separate occasions, when Rav Berland was scheduled to speak to a packed crowd at the Beer Sheva Heichal HaTarbut in the center of town.
The short answer is that as soon as Rav Berland resumed his outreach activities – that have already led to thousands upon thousands of people making teshuva, over the last 40 or so years – the opposition against him started up again.
During his recent appearance in Bat Yam, a small group of protesters picketed the venue. Then, seeing that hundreds of people were still flocking to his local events, the protesters decided to take it up a level, and pressured the Ma’alot-Tarshiha municipality to cancel their recent event entirely.
Buoyed by this success, the protesters next turned their attention to the event scheduled for Beer Sheva, on Aseret B’Tevet (the Fast of Tevet), on the evening of December 28, 2017.
Originally, the event was due to take place at the Mann Auditorium in Beer Sheva, but the anti-Rav Berland brigade pulled out all the stops on social media to try and get it cancelled. As well as posting innumerable inflammatory articles on Facebook, they also encouraged their followers to call the Mann Auditorium, to pressure the management to cancel the event.
Sadly, they succeeded.
The event was switched at the last minute to the Narnia Event Halls in Beer Sheva, but again as soon as this location was publicized, the management of the Narnia Halls were similarly deluged with a flood of threats and ‘hate’ calls and emails from the anti-Rav Berland brigade, which sadly forced another cancellation.
A last minute venue was found on the industrial estate of Beer Sheva, where the Rav’s followers hastily erected two enormous marquees to cater for the attendees. Despite all the terrible miniot (obstacles) and ongoing persecution, around 400 people still made it to the event in Beer Sheva, and heard some awesome words of Torah from the Rav.
Even with the best efforts of the organizers to keep the new venue secret, a small group of around 10 protesters discovered the new location, and stood outside shouting insults through a bull-horn and holding placards. Around the same number of police were dispatched to monitor the situation.
Inside the marquee, the sound of the protesters was amply drowned out by stirring niggunim, led by Rav Eliyahu Succot, and accompanied by keyboards, clarinet and electric guitar.
After an hour of shouting themselves hoarse in the face of an electric blues rendition of Rabbenu’s mitzvah gedola li’hiot b’simcha (it’s a big mitzvah to always be happy), the protesters gave up and left.
Shortly afterwards, Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, arrived at the venue. After singing with the crowd, he then delivered an awesome Torah lesson where he described the spiritual loftiness of Beer Sheva and shared many other mystical points of Torah.
Bezrat Hashem, we are hoping to bring you the full story of what really happened in Beer Sheva in the next couple of days, and to give you a small taste of the enormous mesirut Nefesh that was required from the organizers, the participants, and of course Rav Berland himself in order to make it happen, despite all the persecution.
In the meantime, let’s comfort ourselves with the words of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, writing in the Sefer HaMiddot (Book of Traits):
“When God sees that a certain Tzaddik has the power to draw people to the service of God, He raises enemies against him, in order that he will be able to draw people to God. For when a Tzaddik doesn’t have enemies, he cannot draw people to God, just like in the days of Moshiach, when the world will be at peace and converts will not be accepted.”
You can see the live video of the event in Beer Sheva by clicking HERE.