The Kabbalist Rav Shlomo Elmaliach shlit”a begain his conversation on the Breslov line with these words:
“First of all we need to say, ‘Blessed is He Who…brought us to this time, (shecheyanu)’ that the Rav can be released and go to a private residence with conditions of privacy, and most importantly, that the Rav can finally learn as he wishes, in tens and hundreds of books as the Rav is used to – [if] one is familiar with the Rav’s previous conduct. I merited to be in the Rav’s home a lot, and also you Yaakov [the manager of the Breslov line], you know the conduct of the Rav.”
The Rav sacrificed himself so that they would permit him Tallis and Tefilin in Johannesburg
“Our Rebbe Rav Berland’s conduct in learning is incomprehensible. When we went up to the Rav’s home, he has a giant table five meters (15 feet) long. The Rav opens more and more books, to the point that the people who come see a table full with all the books in the world. The system of learning of the Rav is incomprehensible; in a few hours he opens hundreds of books. What hurt the Rav the most in this process was that he didn’t have books in prison.
“This is very similar to the story which the [Rav’] assistant Nosson Bezenson told me, a shocking and hair-raising story. The Rav was in the prison in Johannesburg in a basement 9 stories below ground level. There was terrible cold there. There are pictures and documentation that until sundown, he was with tefilin and tallis on him. When he came to the prison, the prison warden told him to take off the tefilin: ‘[It’s forbidden] to go down here with tefilin, because with the straps it’s possible to commit suicide.’
“The warden took the tefilin and banned them. The Rav entreated Nosson Bezenson that they return him the tefilin. Bezenson spoke with the prison warden and told him, ‘We are Jews and we must [have] tefilin.’ The warden answered, ‘I’m willing to give the tefilin on the condition that I don’t bring down food to him – either food or tefilin. Like the story of Rabbi Akiva in prison.
“Bezenson returned and asked the Rav what he prefers – the Rav preferred the tefilin. Listen well: The Rav, over the course of four days and nights didn’t eat. He subsisted only on water, which they permitted him. Do you remember that Rav Grossman flew in panic to Johannesburg? He received a report that Rav Berland was mamash on his last leg, on the verge of death.
“Rav Grossman travelled to Johannesburg to the prison, and when he came to the basement nine stories under ground level, he saw that Rav Berland was a chunk of ice. All the blood stopped flowing in his body. He was on the verge of dying for the sake of donning tefilin. I can’t detail what kind of war there was in the last year – both in this and the previous imprisonments – to bring in some page from a book which he could learn there in prison.”
Everything that happens with me is by the word of Hashem
“We heard from a prisoner who was with the Rav in Prison in Tzalmon, in this imprisonment. This prisoner merited to sit with the Rav for a few weeks in the same room. I won’t relate his words about the greatness of the Rav and the nobility of his soul – how he behaved during those days that he was in prison – what nobility, with what mind, with what joy, how he makes everyone happy. All the prisoners and wardens are subordinate to him and love him. The Rav just radiates, bestows, and gives to them endless love. So he relates.
“I loved more than anything his story that he asked the Rav: ‘I heard that they’re going to move you to the prison in Ramla; what did you say?’ The Rav answered him, ‘”By the word of Hashem the children of Israel traveled, and by the word of Hashem they encamped.” My entire thing is “By the word of Hashem the children of Israel traveled, and by the word of Hashem they encamped.” When Hashem decides that I need to encamp, I encamp. When Hashem decides that I need to leave, I leave.’
“Regarding these words I say: this is it. The Rav finished the entire rectification that he needed to go through there in prison, all the suffering that he needed to go through there. The release of the Rav is ‘by the word of Hashem, they traveled.’ It’s not courts, not judges. It’s everything ‘by the word of Hashem.’ And now it’s the order of the day to help the Rav, that it should be, ‘by the word of Hashem they traveled [e.g. that the Rav should leave prison].’
“This is just one point. When the Rav is released now from prison, in spite of the very difficult, constrictive conditions – really, we still won’t merit to pray [with the Rav] and to hear shiurim – but we need to look at the Rav and not at ourselves. The greatest benefit in the release is that the Rav can learn as he wishes; they can bring him books as he wishes. The Rav can learn day and night without interruption. This is just one aspect of the release.”
The conditions of the Rav in the past year were very tough
“The second aspect: it’s now possible to bring to the Rav nutrition which is healthy and fitting for his age. It’s forbidden for me talk. If I could, you would understand what [I’m] talking about. In general, I’ll say that the entire decline [in health] over the last year was because of the substandard food which he ate there. A prisoner in Tzalmon told me that the food of the prison is disgusting. The Rav at this sort of age must keep a proper and healthy diet, and the Rav needs to come out to recuperate. The Rav went through a very, very difficult year. He went through several hospitals, several surgeries. The Rav went through hardships. It’s possible to write about this a pamphlet ‘Days of Hardship,’ literally.
“Rabbi Nosson writes in Hilchos Yain Nesech 4, that since the Tzaddik is the dwelling of the Divine presence, and he is the seat of the Divine presence, therefore, when the Tzaddik is found in prison, also the Divine presence is found with him in prison, as it’s written, ‘A King bound in tresses.’ And the kingdom of holiness is bound with him in the tresses of the mind. The Kadosh Baruch Hu is found with him in prison, the Divine presence is found in prison – he who redeems the Tzaddik from prison, redeems the Divine presence from its exile.
“He redeems the Kadosh Baruch Hu from the exile, because the Rav doesn’t sit alone in prison, as it’s written about Yosef the Tzaddik, ‘Hashem is with him’ – Hashem and His tribunal are found with him in prison. Because ‘in all their suffering, it’s suffering for Him.’ The Tzaddik had to take upon himself this terrible exile. Therefore, it’s not a time to be silent. Every minute that we hesitate, the Rav remains in prison, and the Divine presence and the Kadosh Baruch Hu are found with him in prison.
“Anyone who merits to redeem the Tzaddik – this isn’t a simple redemption. This is a redemption of the Kadosh Baruch Hu and the Divine presence from exile. This is redemption of the Jewish people from exile. This is a very lofty spiritual redemption. We sat with the council of the heads of the Yeshiva and received updates. Anyone who merits now to participate in the soul redemptions of the Tzaddik, the Kadosh Baruch Hu, the Divine presence, merits, bezras Hashem, that Hashem should redeem him from all suffering, and he should merit to every salvation.”
The redemption of the Tzaddik is so great, that specifically about this they decreed
“I said to the Rabbis, everything in holiness has obstacles, and in the story of the Rav, we see that they made an agreement that it’s forbidden for him to do Pidyons [soul redemptions] and to bless people – did you hear? They requested the exorbitant sum of 1.2 million while holding to the conditions of not blessing or doing pidyons. From here, we learn the greatness of the level of the pidyons and the blessings of the Tzaddik. Through their decreeing upon him not to do this, understand how important this is.
“Although now the money is not passed on straight to the Tzaddik – as it were, a person doesn’t receive blessings from the Tzaddik – but the Rav knows. We know that the Rav is detachment [from physicality]. This isn’t physical. Anyone who gives to the Rav doesn’t lose anything.
“The Rabbinic Council of the community decided that any family that loves Rav Berland should now urgently donate and recruit [others] to donate. Outside Beit HaRav [the Rav’s house], a command center is located. Here, outside the Beit HaRav, people can give their redemptions. There will be telephone operations here, and they are requesting from everyone to join and get [others] to donate.
“Also on the Breslov line, it’s possible to donate through extension 10, and it’s also possible to give by way of the Rabbinic Council of the community. In the meantime, there are responses and messages – everyone has an open heart. There is great excitement in the community, and we are before the days of Purim, a time fitting to give Machatzis HaShekel. We, the Rabbinic Council of the community, set the Machatzis HaShekel this year at 2000 shekels for the redemption of the Rav.
“The redemption for the Rav – anyone who gives a redemption is blessed and should merit to all salvations. Just as he redeems the Rav, so Hashem will redeem him when he needs. Every day that people hesitate, this takes a toll on the soul of the Rav in prison. We are pleading; until we reached this point, to take the Rav out of prison… See the last picture, how the Rav appears. I mamash cried – he looks…Hashem have mercy…only to cry, all that’s left is to cry…how they abuse the Rav.”
Remove the Divine presence from exile
“How they set his conditions of release! You wouldn’t believe – harsher than prison. But what can we do? We have to remove the Divine presence from exile. Anyone who merits now to redeem the Tzaddik… I’m not talking about 2000, 5000, this is nothing…. Everyone who is calling now is [giving] 10,000 – not less. Some people donated larger sums.
“Thus [people] are bring close the Redemption, the salvation…Rabosai, I plead to you, crying with bitter tears. I heard things from the Rabbinic Council that were very tough. We are crying and pleading for Rav Berland. Now, pick up the phones to the [donation] line. We must free the Rav. We must win the war here.
“Get the Rav out. All the time that you’re hesitating…. I’m totally aggravated and in shock, we’ve gone through such hardship, such difficult times, we went through such a tough year – now, this is the end. Our Sages said that a mitzvah is only called by the name of the one who finishes it. He who merits now to finish it, to bring now 10,000 for a redemption, this mitzvah is called by him, by the name of the one that finishes it.
“Let’s finish and give them the money of the redemption, and the Rav will be freed from prison, and he can be in a warm home. Know, that the exit of the Tzaddik from prison is also our exit from prison. Rabbeinu [Nachman] says in the Lesson [entitled], ‘I am Hashem…’ that the Tzaddik redeems us.
“Rabosai, there’s no deception here. All the money goes entirely to the redemption of the Tzaddik. There are donation centers…the redemption money only goes to the places which I have mentioned.
“Outside of these donation centers, don’t donate to any other centers. Only donate to the community’s Rabbinic Council, the command center outside the Beit HaRav, and the Breslov line of Ben Nisan.”
The Rav will still need to pay approximately 150 thousand shekels monthly for the house arrest which includes guards, full time security team, rent, and medical care.
To Donate for the Rav’s legal and medical expenses click here
Click here to hear words about the Fundraiser Campaign (in Hebrew)
May Hashem be with you!