RAV SHALOM TZADOK: RAV BERLAND’S ENEMIES WANTED TO TORPEDO HIS KIRUV WORK
Rav Shalom Tzadok is the head of the Ariel and Ayish yishuvim (settlements) in the Shomron. He recently spoke to the Breslov Information Line about his recent visit to see Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita.
Rav Tzadok recounted: “The law (halacha) concerning the shechiyanu bracha (blessing) you recite when you meet a person you haven’t seen for a very long time is that it should be said from the depths of the heart, and not just recited superficially. So, I made the blessing as soon as I saw Rav Berland.
“I was so happy to see the Rav in all his glory, strength and might,” began Rav Tzadok, shlita.
He continued: “The Rav was very excited to give over his divrei Torah (words of Torah), and we caught his enthusiasm. I told Rav Berland, shlita, some clear words, that we shouldn’t be surprised or impressed by all the slanderous lies that his enemies have spread about him.
“I told him that he wasn’t the first person who’d been persecuted [in that manner]. These things have been going on since the very beginning. Chazal tell us that dafka, in that area where a great person is the most excellent, that’s where they seek to turn things around, and make it appear that he’s the opposite of what he truly is.
“We saw by Moshe Rabbenu, who the Torah testified about him that he was the most humble human being on the face of the earth, that his enemies still had the brazenness to say to him: ‘all the congregation is holy, so why are you aggrandizing yourself over the congregation of Hashem?’
“That’s how you talk to Moshe Rabbenu?! And even more than that, Moshe Rabbenu was the most tzanua (modest) person, who was completely separated from all worldly matters, in order to be able to speak with the living God – yet despite this, they still suspected him of impropriety!
“So, I told Rav Berland, dafka, because you managed to conquer so many people’s hearts, and because so many people have followed you in guarding their eyes, and you succeeded in bringing people closer to our Father in Shemayim (the heavenly realm), and to our holy Torah, this is the reason they’ve persecuted you.
“You have nothing to be afraid of,” continued Rav Tzadok. “Be strong, and continue in your path, Hashem will bless your endeavours.”
Rav Tzadok then explained how his connection with Rav Berland stretches back across 60 years:
“The Rav was with me in the same room as me at the Kfar Chassidim yeshiva for four years, until his marriage. I was at his engagement and also attended his chuppa (wedding). The head of the Haifa bet din (religious court), Rav Rosental, was also there.
“Rav Rosental led some of the service, and told us that we should praise the Berland family, because two talmidei chachamim (people very learned in Torah) had come from it. Afterwards, many other Gedolei Israel (leading figures in the Torah world) also praised him [Rav Berland], including Rav Mishorar, who was the then head of the bet din in Petach Tikva.
“I remember Rav Berland’s, shlita, very unusual avodat Hashem (service of Hashem) back in the yeshiva. His diligence in learning was really only for its own sake. He used to rise early in the mornings, and go to pray in holiness and purity. He would pray with dveikut (attachment to Hashem), out loud, and then afterwards he’d be learning the whole rest of the day, until the end of the night.
“He was always the last one to return to our room. And then the next day, he’d do it all over again.”
Rav Tzadok concludes: “I couldn’t see any trace of concern on the Rav, despite everything he’s gone through. The happiness of learning Torah is still lighting up his face. His whole being is immersed in Torah, he’s got a big table there, and it’s full of holy books, and he’s radiating [holiness and happiness] to everyone who’s coming to visit him. It’s really a delight to see him.
“I told him that all the suffering that he endured, it was a kapparah (atonement) for Am Israel. All those people who saw how much success he was having with the [non-Torah observant] public did everything they could to try to torpedo it.”
You can hear Rav Shalom Tzadok’s words for yourself (in the original Hebrew) on the Breslov Information Line, by calling:
In Israel: 02-800-8800
In the US: 1-845-640-0007
In Europe: 44-203-807-3333