The Kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Elmeliach came to the Russian Compound along with the rest of the students of our Rebbe, Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a.
Outside of the great obligation to pray for the Tzaddik, an elderly Jew who is persecuted in order to atone for the sins of us all, “Really, our illnesses he bore” (Yeshayahu 53), a holy Jew, who suffers from many illnesses, “A man of pains, and known for illness” (ibid). The feeling of the entire community is that we are obligated to protest the disgracing of a Torah scholar.
We caught up with Rav Elmeliach for a short and important conversation, in order to shed a little light on the situation of our Rebbe Rav Berland shlit”a.
Rav Elmeliach: “The police are behaving with tremendous cruelty towards Rav Berland. We heard that on Shabbat, from the moment that the Rav was arrested, there was very great cruelty there. They tossed his bag with the books, his bag with the clothes. They didn’t let him bring in clothes, didn’t let him bring in anything.
“We heard from Natan Rubenstein that the Rav suffered terribly on Shabbat in the prison. They turned off the light which the Rav needs, needs to use the bathroom, needs care. The Rav is very elderly. This isn’t a simple age.
“With all of this, they’re already bringing him today to Jerusalem. We thought that this would be to the District Court. In the end, they brought him here. They chained his hands and took him with brutality to the direction of the interrogation [department]. The Rav’s hand is very swollen, his legs are swollen from edema – [but] this doesn’t interest them.
“This morning, they also came to arrest the Rabbanit [the Rav’s wife] with the greatest cruelty. The Rabbanit fell; her entire eye swelled up and is blue and red colored. In spite of this, with the greatest cruelty they weren’t ready to evacuate her in an ambulance. They took her in a police car.
“We are found now in front of the Russian Compound with all our Breslov Chasidim, raising prayer to the Creator of the World, that He should rescue our Rebbe, Rav Berland shlit”a.
Rav Berland is found now under interrogation. It appears that they are doing a quick interrogation. They’re taking testimony. It appears that the same wicked one is going to condemn the Rav. Of course, the Rav wasn’t an accomplice in this, as we know.
“We don’t know how this will develop. I asked the officers if the Rav will stay here today, or perhaps they will carry him off to Ramla every day. They also don’t know. It appears that every day they will carry him around.
“Regarding the Rabbanit, she will probably be under arrest, or after the investigation she will be released. It’s impossible to know. Therefore, we’re waiting to see how matters will develop here.”