On August 9th, 2016, a well-known Tzaddik (who asked that his name be withheld) came to Rav Avraham Baruch, and told him that because of the way that Am Yisrael has been mistreating Rav Berland and dishonouring this huge Tzaddik, a huge gezeira, or decree, had now been passed against the Jewish nation.
In separate comments, Rav Shalom Arush and Rav Dov Kook confirmed that there was now a very serious gezeira looming over the Jewish people.
The only way to cancel the decree is for the Jewish people to make Teshuva, and to publicly protest the awful way this Tzaddik has been slandered, defamed and falsely accused of crimes he could never commit in a million years. The 80 year old Rav Berland has been behind bars in Israel for more than three weeks’ now, shunted from prison to prison every few days. Before that, he was imprisoned in South Africa for months, solely at the request of the Israeli authorities.
There are no credible witnesses against him. There is no case. Yet the Israeli government has spent millions of shekels persecuting him, chasing him from country to country, and are now refusing to free him.
There are three main groups of people persecuting the Rav.
PERSECUTOR NUMBER ONE: is the ‘False Witness’, a former employee of Rav Berland’s Shuvu Banim yeshiva, who first made the false allegations against the Rav on Channel 2 more than three years’ ago. Channel 2 somehow ‘forgot’ to inform their viewers that the man making the allegations had been placed under house arrest at the time of the interview, for shooting bullets at the house of Rav Berland’s gabbay – a crime he was later convicted of.
Channel Two also somehow ‘forgot’ to tell their viewers that the female ‘victim’ they interviewed in this same clip, with a blurred face to make her unrecognizable, was the false witnesses’ own wife.
This is what the grandson of Rav Dovid Grossman had to say, about Persecutor Number One:
“How’s it possible to believe all these stories about the Tzaddik that are being put around by criminals and sinners? By people who have sold him out for money? They took the Rav from shiur to shiur, and then charged people thousands of dollars just to speak to him. And these are the same people that we’re now meant to believe, when they started to bring all these stories out about the Rav?!
“These people are thieves and liars, and they have no connection to holiness. They completely damaged the community, and they kept the Rav under lock and key, and didn’t let him speak to anyone – only what they themselves wanted. And these people are the ones you’re going to believe?!
“These wicked people paid tens of thousands of dollars to another complainant, in order for her to agree to lie on their behalf…These people are ‘sinners of Israel b’gufim’ [this is a reference from the Gemara about one of the categories of sinners who are so bad, they spend eternity in Gehinnom] – and these people you want to turn into Tzaddikim?!
“How can people believe these lies? [He’s a holy Tzaddik] and they are criminals and sinners who are exploiting his complete nullification to God’s will. [i.e. by not taking steps to silence them, or to defend himself publicly.] They are exploiting this, and they threatened him that if Rav berland doesn’t agree to do what they want him to do, they will spread stories and lies about him.”
Which is exactly what happened.
PERSECUTOR NUMBER TWO: Is a group of three Breslev zealots who have been waging a war of attrition and slander against the Rav for more than three decades, already.
These are the people behind the terrible, slanderous news stories that were eagerly reported by Arutz 7, the Jerusalem Post, Ynet, and many other media channels when Rav Berland returned to Israel from South Africa. (We’ll come back to the media’s role in a moment.)
This is what Rav Salmanovitch, the former Rebbe of two of these persecutors, had to say to them:
“Who knows if the final redemption of our people hasn’t been delayed solely because of this terrible machloket, that has spread strife and the defamation of God’s name across the whole globe? I’ve heard so much chillul Hashem coming from every corner of the world, as a result of this machloket. People are saying, even if what happened actually happened (God forbid, as though that could actually have happened) – where is all this terrible, murderous hatred (lit: murder) coming from? They say only in Breslev do you find this sort of murderous hatred!
“[The Satan] is putting all his strength into creating Erev Rav here, who are committing murder. What kind of sick people try to get Tzaddikim signed up [to their wicked schemes?]
“Gevald, how could you do such a thing?! Did you learn this from Rabbenu?! What we learn from Rabbenu is only to love [our fellow Jew]! And only to bring them closer! If Hashem will have mercy on us, then you also have mercy! I’m aware of all your complaints, but they are nonsense and vanity. It’s still possible to rectify everything! You both know very, very well how you can settle matters properly, if you want to. Ashreichem, blessed will you be, and blessed will be your lot in life, if you stop now. From now, stop, everyone, stop!”
Why are these three men persecuting Rav Berland so bitterly? Rav Motta Frank explains
“You decided, and others like you decided, that he [Rav Berland] and his people, and all those who support him are ‘Sabbateans’ [i.e followers of a modern-day ‘Shabtai Tzvi’, or false messiah].
“And it seems that only because of this…that Rav Lazer is a modern-day ‘Shabtai Tzvi’ [i.e. a false messiah], Heaven forbid, they’ve apparently permitted themselves to stoop so low, and to try to kick a person while they’re already down. And they’re not embarrassed to stoop to the very lowest of levels, and are trying to make other people go to secular court, too, to testify against Rav Lazer, to participate in the investigation by the police, who are known to hate religion. [i.e. Judaism], about issues that have nothing to do with the investigation, solely with the aim of trying to make more trouble for Rav Berland.
“And the most terrible thing of all was to go to such a low level to publicly cause the embarrassment and humiliation of Rav Lazer, and all of his people in this way, to pass around a recording of a ‘false’ video (as is evident to everyone who really knows Rav Lazer), which they brought out in a back-handed, deceitful way, made up of old footage of Rav Lazer.
“Anyone who has even a little bit of understanding about everything that is happening around us knows with certainty that the Rav is being persecuted, and is an innocent man. And more than this, that there is a lowly group that will not stop at anything, even the most degrading things, against this Tzaddik, the foundation of the world.”
PERSECUTOR NUMBER 3: Is the anti-Judaism government and media in Israel
At the time that Rav Berland fled the country, the ruling elites were engaged in an all-out war on the Torah world in Israel, slashing their budgets, closing down one Torah institution after another and passing laws to force yeshiva students to serve in the IDF.
When Persecutor Number 1 started concocting his fantastic stories, the Government and the media jumped on it like they’d just won the lottery. Before the slander and persecution began, Rav Berland was known as one of the most influential figures in Israel – a man who had brought literally tens of thousands of people back to Yiddishkeit, and who wasn’t afraid to criticize the secular government about their lack of backbone, clarity and courage in dealing with Israel’s Arab enemies.
Rav Berland could mobilise people – even, tens of thousands of people. He wasn’t afraid to speak out. He could embarrass their government over their continued mis-handling of Arab terror, and he was the engine behind a huge Teshuva movement that saw thousands of people returning to their Jewish roots every year.
That made this elderly Torah scholar public enemy one, to Israel’s secular ruling elites in the government and media.
Time and again, the media have colluded with the false witnesses and persecutors of Rav Berland to present fiction as fact, and outrageous lies as the plain truth. They have never printed a single retraction about all the false stories they’ve broadcast. They’ve never identified their sources. They’ve never even so much as mentioned the many, many statements released publicly by some of the biggest names in the orthodox Jewish world, coming out in full support of Rav Berland.
THERE IS NO CASE AGAINST RAV BERLAND, AND ALL THE ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN FALSIFIED BY PERSECUTOR NUMBER ONE, AND HIS FAMILY MEMBERS.
Here’s what some of the biggest Rabbis in Israel have to say about Rav Berland:
“We are stunned and pained, to the depths of our heart, to witness the terrible rumors and the machloket occurring in our community, which are describing things that are just completely impossible, have no logical basis, and are completely disconnected from reality.
“[We are shocked that] Spiritually-unrefined, brazen, chutzpadik people with coarsened hearts are opening their proud, arrogant mouths against the holy honor of Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, who is a true Torah scholar and one of the pillars of the generation, whose whole world consists of Torah, prayer, holiness, abstinence, judging others favorably, and sacrificing himself for another Jew, whoever that other Jew might be.
“…people are saying falsehoods, and spreading evil rumors concocted by malicious, accursed Baal Machlokot (troublemakers, people who create division and strife) who are trying to harm the Rav.
“AND THE COMMUNITY SHOULD KNOW THAT THE THINGS BEING SPOKEN OF ARE ABSOLUTE LIES, AND WOE TO ANYONE WHO BELIEVES ANY FALSE STORIES, OR FALSEHOODS ABOUT HIM, EVEN JUST IN THEIR HEARTS.”
Here’s what the Rosh Yeshiva and leading kabbalist from Bnei Brak, RAV CHAIM DOVID STERN has to say:
“Woe to whoever speaks ill of Rav Berland, for they will be punished severely. All those who dare to speak ill of this tzaddik should fear for their lives, for they will all, without exception, receive severe punishments from Above. I knew him 40 years ago, and the way he learned with the Steipler was unmatched by any other. He is entirely holy.”
“The final test before Moshiach comes is Rav Berland. Anyone who talks against him, or who believes the rumours being circulated about him, won’t merit to witness the imminent redemption of our people.”
RAV DOV KOOK, the Tzaddik of Tiveria, had this to say about Rav Berland:
“If all of Breslev would have believed in Rav Berland, the Moshiach would have come a long time ago.”
“Shemayim is very angry about the people who are disgracing the Gaon and Tzaddik, Rav Eliezer Berland”
“When he returns to Eretz Israel, the geula will accompany him.”
While RAV DAVID ABUCHATZEIRA had this to say:
“Rav Berland is all Torah, and he’s in prison by unnatural means, and his salvation will also be by unnatural means. The suffering that he’s enduring now is the hardest, but the salvation is close, because the Rav is now undergoing the harshest degradation, so the salvation has to come, and all of his accusers will fall.”
WHO IS RAV BERLAND?
Most people, especially in the English-speaking world, only heard of Rav Berland from the slanderous media sources, who portrayed an utterly false picture of this humble, holy man. So who is the real Rav Berland? Let’s go back to the grandson of Rav David Grossman, who paints a very different picture of who this true Tzaddik really is:
“The single biggest thing that enrages Hashem is when people talk against His Tzaddikim, because it’s like talking badly to a father about his only son, who is busy sacrificing himself with every second that passes, solely for the sake of Am Yisrael. And this is especially true of Rav Berland, who is sacrificing himself every moment in order to bring Am Yisrael closer to God – without eating, without drinking, and even without sleeping.
“When you’re talking about someone like this, is it really possible to claim that he’s made mistakes like this, or erred in the ways of holiness? Remember, this is the person who has made the most effort to teach other people about the importance of shmirat enayim (guarding ones eyes) and preventing the blemishes [that occur from untznius behavior].
“This is the person who has spoken out the most about the importance of kedusha, holiness, and about committing oneself to Torah, and on the importance of praying at length, with real feeling. All the allegations against him are lies and falsehoods, and they go against all of the rules of logic. This Tzaddik is far from sin, and all he desires is to get closer to Hashem. Even when he was imprisoned, all he did was try to strengthen himself by learning Torah.”
IT’S TIME TO STAND UP FOR RAV BERLAND!
Before World War II, the Chofetz Chaim warned his generation that a terrible decree was being made in Shemayim, in response to the terrible desecration of Torah, and the humiliation of Torah scholars that was occurring at that time of the ‘Enlightenment’, when literally millions of Jews were turning their back on God and His Torah.
Today, many of the leading kabbalists are calling on Am Yisrael to make serious Teshuva, to atone for the terrible persecution, imprisonment and false slanders of Rav Eliezer Berland, one of the generation’s leading Rabbis.
The key is to stand up for Rav Berland, and to publicly protest the awful treatment he’s receiving at the hands of the corrupt Israeli government, and the terrible dishonor being done to him throughout the Jewish world.
At the end of this POST, you’ll find a link where you can sign a petition to stand up for Rav Berland. This petition is not to convince any government ministers, journalists or evil gossip-mongers to change their minds – it’s show God that we really care about truth, justice and His Tzaddikim.
Time is running out for Am Yisrael. We need to stand up for Rav Berland NOW.
In World War II, all it took for evil to flourish was for good people to do nothing. We can’t afford to make the same mistake again.