This last Shabbat, Moreinu HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a did not attend the Shabbat prayers after not feeling well in recent days. On Saturday night, his assistant and grandson Rabbi Dov Zucker spoke to the Breslov information hotline and provided an update on the medical condition of the Rav shlit”a.
Here is Rav Zucker’s update as conveyed on the Breslov information line:
“Last week, starting from Tuesday to Wednesday, the Rav began to feel unwell. Initially, the issue was diagnosed as a mild cold, and especially, as everyone knows, the Rav shlit”a does not complain about his condition. We, the assistants, tried to help as much as possible – a cup of hot tea, heating, etc. However, the Rav, in his selflessness for the sake of the entire Jewish people, did not deviate from his busy daily schedule. The regular learning partners remained, and likewise the Wednesday shiur was even longer than usual. Reception of the public took place as scheduled. The Rav even officiated at three weddings in the last week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The outbreak of pneumonia only began on Thursday night after Ma’ariv. We began to understand that something was not right after Moreinu HaRav pointed out to us that there was not enough heating in the room. As known to everyone and as we mentioned, in almost all cases, the Rav does not complain at all about his condition. When it happens that the Rav does speak about his medical condition, it raises a red flag for every assistant in the Rav’s household.
“The Rav shlit”a, as is known, always tries until the last moment, and we have already long thought that the Rav is not in the best medical condition to be attending Shabbat prayers, and in any case Moreinu HaRav sacrificed himself to attend Shabbat prayers. So we did not know on Friday until close to the beginning of Shabbat what would happen with the prayers of Shabbat evening. With the lighting of the Shabbat candles, Moreinu HaRav’s medical condition began to worsen, and it was understood that he would not be able to attend the Shabbat evening prayers. Therefore, we updated the public with the first siren [indicating the time for candle lighting]. About an hour after the beginning of Shabbat, the Rav’s persona physician arrived and diagnosed the Rav’s medical condition as pneumonia. At the same time, he also began administrating therapeutic treatment through intravenous infusion, antibiotics, and other medications. Routines tests were also performed, and kidney and heart checks revealed higher than normal levels.
“Of course, over the course of Shabbat day, as we informed the community, Moreinu HaRav remained in rest and did not attend Shabbat prayers. Moreinu HaRav received the best possible treatment with God’s help. Tomorrow (Sunday), the doctor is expected to come again to diagnose where we stand. We hope that already at around 4:00 – 5:00 PM, we will be able to give an update on the hotline whether Moreinu HaRav will attend Ma’ariv on Sunday.” [Ed: In the end, he did attend the Sunday night prayers].
Towards the end of the interview, Rabbi Dov Zucker adds and emphasizes the need to pray: “Of course, as always, the medical condition of Moreinu HaRav shlit”a requires prayers, and at the moment with even more strength and vigor. Everyone should see to strengthen himself and to pray more for the recovery of Moreinu HaRav shlit”a, that we should merit for him to live with us for hundreds of years in all his glory and may we merit to see together with him the coming of the redeemer and the complete redemption speedily in our days, Amen.”