Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, wrote the following letter to his students from his hospital room at Hadassah Ein Kerem, while recovering from his recent serious operation:
BS”D LS”M LS”B A”V BR”H
27 Shevat 5777—February 23, 2017, the year of the coming of Mashiach 777 (U’Biyas Hamashiach = 5777)
TO ALL THE STUDENTS OF YESHIVAS SHUVU BANIM
The Rav requests of all students of Yeshivas Shuvu Banim wherever they are found:
- To strengthen and encourage all the opposition, pursuers and slanderers.
- To strengthen them with all types of support and encouragement, to raise up their prestige, to encourage and support them spiritually and physically, in Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida.
- And to supply them with as much material as possible for smearing and humiliating.
Because the merit that has fallen into the hands of Shuvu Banim, that everyone is smearing and humiliating them [is] a merit that all the tzaddikim in the world would pay full price for and [would] give all their property for in order to merit to such humiliation.
All of those who cannot stand the humiliations and slanders should leave “Shuvu Banim” today and not, G-d forbid, fight back.
Therefore, it’s forbidden for anyone who considers himself to be a student of Rav Berland to rise later than 12:00 at night. Until 26 Adar-March 24th, it’s possible to pray ma’ariv [the evening prayer] by 6:30 pm, and [you] have 5 hours to sleep at home for anyone who wants or needs to.
Then, say Tikkun Chatzos over the course of an hour or two, weeping terribly over the destruction of the Holy Temple, just praying and asking for as much humiliation and slanders as possible. After that, travel to a field and be there for an hour or two, and request and scream with all one’s strength to the depths of one’s soul that the Rav should merit to as much humiliation and slanders as possible.
Afterwards, learn Kitzos HaChoshen until shacharis [the morning prayer], as Rabbeinu writes in Torah 62 [in Likutey Moharan]…that it’s a great mitzvah to sharpen one’s intellect. This is, practically-speaking, the first and most important mitzvah, because only by sharpening the intellect, the Holy Rebbe (Rebbe Nachman) explains, can you fulfill the mitzvah “know what to answer a heretic [V’da Ma Sh’teshiv L’apikoris] – initial letters in Hebrew ShaLOM [peace].
And only then will you have inner peace and peace in your prayer, allowing you to join the body and the soul in prayer, to withdraw from all matters [pertaining to] the body, and to cling only to the soul, which is the fundamental part of a human being, a portion of G-d above, allowing you to cling to the life of the future world, to Hashem Blessed is He, the Source of life, joy, happiness, and success.
And in Torah 277, the Holy Rebbe explains that all those who oppose a person are his true friends, who [as it were] ferret tunnels deep under a person’s house to bring him trucks-full of diamonds, precious stones, and jewels.
If one, G-d forbid, responds to them even with a single world, immediately he tosses back all the diamonds, precious stones, and jewels, G-d forbid.
In Torah 12 [it’s written]: “Hurmiz the son of Lilit…was leaping on the wall…and was leaping back and forth…and not even a single drop fell to earth, and it was a day of ‘rising up to the heavens and descending to the depths”.
Even though at the moment Shuvu Banim is in the midst of a situation of “rising up to the heavens and descending to the depths,” in the middle of a tornado and a hurricane, a monsoon and the other types of storm winds, “rising up to the heavens and descending to the depths”…still, we need to be careful that not even a single drop from the words of the opposition should fall to the ground.
Through this, the Holy Rebbe explains, all the Torah of the opposition and all that they learned from their birth until now, from all their previous incarnations, and from the time of Adam HaRishon, and what they learned from the angel in their mothers’ belly…everything is given over to this [person] who they are opposing…and suddenly all the wellsprings of wisdom and knowledge are opened for him, like the holy Rabbi Chayim Vital when he drank from Miriam’s well [and began to receive Ruach Hakodesh].
And all the secrets in the world are revealed like they were to Rabbi Akiva, as it says in Midrash Rabbah (Chukas 19), that things which were not revealed to Moshe were revealed to Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues, as it says, “’His eye saw every precious thing’—this is Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues.” The Megaleh Amukos explains in Torah 72 that the secret of the [letter] Shin of tefillin which wasn’t revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu was revealed to Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues.
And through this, the Holy Rebbe explains in Hilchos Tefillin 4…that this is the secret of [the shin of] tefillin of three heads and of four heads…that this is the secret of the opposition that only true tzaddikim merit to…that this is like the combs of iron of Rabbi Akiva [which scraped his flesh]…that through this, secrets of the two Shins are revealed which haven’t been revealed to any tzaddik in the world until the coming of Melech HaMashiach [King Messiah].
Because no person in the world can reach any [spiritual] level, even the lowest of levels, except through opposition, humiliation and slanders.
Rabbi Heikel asked a question of Rabbeinu: Rabbeinu, I have a question, but I’m afraid that you will say that Rabbi Heikel will die. Rabbeinu said to him: Ask. Then he asked: Rabbeinu, why do you draw onto yourself opposition? Then Rabbeinu said to him: Rabbi Heikel, it’s good that you assured yourself…I need opposition on myself even from one step to the next…because I can’t accomplish anything except through opposition.
We need only to strengthen and encourage with all types of encouragement and support anyone who is ready to join the opposition against me, and to find for them money and donations in every way possible, in order to amplify their power and intensify their efforts…to help them to succeed in all their ways.
And anyone who can’t stand the humiliations should leave “Shuvu Banim” today.
Ovadia even said to Eliyahu the prophet, “There isn’t a nation or a kingdom which the king hasn’t had them swear that they couldn’t find you.” Because Achav was one of three kings who ruled over the entire world, and he had 273 princes [held as] hostages, all of who returned in complete repentance and converted while Eliyahu the prophet was wanted throughout the world.
And [people] called him [Eliyahu] “troublemaker of Israel” and every derogatory nickname in the world, [but] he didn’t abandon his way in holiness, and slaughtered 450 [false] prophets of Ba’al and 400 [false] prophets of Ashera in full view of everyone.
And despite the fact that Jezebel said to him, “Tomorrow I will make you like one of them [that she would kill him],” it is said, “and he feared.” Rabbi Chama asked Rabbi Yossi why he “feared.” The Chidushei HaRim asks how a man who burned 102 people could fear Jezebel. Rabbi Yossi answers that it’s not written, “VaYiRa [he feared]”; rather it’s written “VaYaR [he saw]” that he went “to his soul,” that in the merit of this he merited to reach his soul.”
A family member who was present when Rav Berland wrote this later tell Kikar Hashabat: “The hands of the Rav worn turning purple from the tremendous effort the Rav exerted in writing this letter from his hospital bed right after surgery”.