Saved from a murderous terrorist

Still from the police camera showing Nachman Lerner being attacked by the terrorist


The following amazing story shows just how much holy innocence Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, has infused into his students, and is a first-hand account of how a student from Shuvu Banim was saved from a murderous terrorist.

The student, Nachman Lerner, is a holy avreich (Torah student) at the main Shuvu Banim yeshiva in the old city of Jerusalem. Last Shabbat, Nachman was walking back to his home after visiting the Kotel, around 12pm in the early afternoon.

Like many of Rav Berland’s students, Nachman Lerner is extremely careful with the mitzvah of shmirat eynayim, or guarding the eyes. After he wraps himself in his tallit (prayer shawl) for the morning prayers, he often stays that way until he reaches his home, and also recites the tikkun haklali while he walks, too.

Just as he was leaving the Shaar Shechem (the Damascus Gate) last Shabbat, a female terrorist holding a knife suddenly ran directly at him, and tried with all her might to stab him. While all this was happening, there was no other Jewish bystanders in the area, and certainly not any security personnel, either.

Somehow, Nachman Lerner managed to evade the female terrorist, and then calmly continued home to where his family were waiting for him to begin their Shabbat seuda (meal).

When the police later reviewed the video footage of the area, it became immediately clear to them that a potentially extremely dangerous attempted terrorist attack had just taken place – but they also realized that the victim, Nachman Lerner, apparently had no idea of what had just taken place.

When he got home, Nachman Lerner told his family that some female arab terrorist had just tried to attack him next to Shaar Shechem, and had scratched him a bit. It seems that Nachman Lerner believed he’d just been attacked by an unbalanced woman who often started abusing passers by, and had no idea that he’d been involved in an attempted murder. So he just continued home and didn’t’ really give what had happened another thought.

But this isn’t where the story ends.

Early Sunday morning, the police contacted some of the students from the Shuvu Banim yeshiva to try and find the avreich who’d been involved in the attempted stabbing the day before. These students tried to get in touch with Nachman Lerner, but to no avail. Lerner had already gone to learn for the day, and he didn’t own a cellphone that he could be contacted on.

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One of the students set out to try to track him down in the yeshiva, in order to send him over to the police station to testify about the attempted stabbing, but when he found Nachman Lerner, he had no idea what he was talking about. One of the students asked him how he could be so calm and unafraid, in the face of an attempted murder, and Nachman Lerner replied that he was relying on the blessing from the Rav, Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita.

The Rav had recently told him that he could continue to enter and exit the old city via the Shaar Shechem gate without any fear, because ‘angels were accompanying him, in the merit of his shmirat eynayim.’

This is how Nachman Lerner explained things in his own words:

“Thanks go to Hashem Yitborach, for all the miracles. The police said that it’s impossible to explain what happened to me, other than to say I experienced an open miracle. There is simply no connection between what I experienced myself [during the attack], and what I saw happening on the police footage – i.e. what actually was happening in reality.

“The police told me: ‘Mister, this was some horrible woman, a 26 year old terrorist, who tried to stab you multiple times.’”

Nachman Lerner concluded: “This is what Rav Berland, shlita, always says:

A person who learns Gemara, and who tries to guard his eyes, and who goes to the Kotel – angels accompany him.

The police told me that HaKadosh Baruch Hu Himself must have been giving me a hug.”

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