The Torah World is being destroyed midda kneged midda, because of what happened to Rav Berland
The following fiery words were said by Rabbi Moshe Menachem Kluger, shlita, head of Mosdos Kever Rachel.
He recently sent out a powerful phone message in Hebrew, where he directly linked the awful persecution occurring against the Chareidi community in Israel, and the wider difficult situation facing Chareidi communities around the world, with the persecution of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita.
During the message, Rav Kluger broke down in tears, when he recounted the terrible calumnies that have been perpetrated against Rabbi Berland, and the Shuvu Banim community.
You can hear the full message for yourself, below, in the original Hebrew, and we are also pleased to share a translation of his words with you:
Shalom u’vracha. I admit that I’m scared.
I know that I’m about to say things that some people will not leave ‘unpaid’, and that I’m going to get my comeuppance. Maybe, I’ll also have the merit [said sarcastically] of [these people saying about me] ‘Moshe Menachem Kluger’, yimach shemo (may his name be erased).
Then, I will find myself in a group with many other tzaddikim, many other very important Rabbis, whose deeds and secret works on behalf of Rabbenu (Rebbe Nachman) are great, and who have absorbed defamation and harm from every direction.
But yesterday, one of the big poskim (halachic decisors) asked me to come to his home. It wasn’t easy to get there, because of the lockdown. I was stunned to hear his discourse. [He said]: You have to act! You are a Breslov Chassid, and you are by Mama Rachel. Things are happening here that never occurred since the world was created.”
The posek continued:
“Things are happening here that cause every heart to tremble. Day in and day out, tens of people hurt and Dying [from Coronavirus], there are orphans and widows. Thousands of people find themselves in distress. The fire is burning, you have to do something!
The Rambam writes that despite the fact that we are in a period of hester panim (where Hashem hides His face from the world), midda kneged midda (the principle of a measure for measure) is still operating. Things are happening here that anyone who takes the time to explore them even a little, will see the principle of midda kneged midda operating in a very clear way.”
Rav Kluger continues:
The Posek then started to explain things to me detail by detail: “They took a Rav (Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita), a Jew who was giving over a shiur on the Gemara, daf yomi in front of hundreds of people, with great dedication. Then a [police] van came, and took him off to the prison – and he’s still sitting in jail.
Midda kneged midda, to our great sorrow, all the Admorim, all the Rabbis and Rosh Yeshivas, are now in bidud (isolation). There are no more shiurim, there are no more classes, there are no more gatherings. Everyone sits alone.
We [the frum community] detested, gossiped about and slandered a whole kehilla (community) in the most ugly and cruel ways, in the not-really-chareidi media, and also in the secular media, and even in the international media of the goyim.
We besmirched the name of a Jew (Rabbi Eliezer Berland), together with his whole community (i.e. Shuvu Banim), many thousands of people, and to our great sorrow, this is still happening now.
Midda kneged midda, the international media is now publicizing that the Jews are the ones that brought the plague (i.e. Coronavirus). The media networks are calling it ‘the Jewish plague’.
They have barricaded the doors of our mosdos, shuls and yeshivas, no-one can enter.
To our great sorrow, the Police have barricaded the synagogues. Synagogues have been closed with padlocks and bolts – and the Shechina is crying.
It’s easy to see how everything has been directed, how everything has played out. There are people here with vested interests. They wanted to make a fire burn, and to push their own interests forward, and they have done this no matter what the price.
Whenever we hear of a Jew in distress, someone having difficulty in shidduchim, a child off the derech etc, we make a big tumult about it and every Jew tries to help, it’s natural that every person wants to save another neshama. But here, something much bigger is happening, an entire community is in distress, they are calling out to be rescued, people are burning up the entire Jewish world with the fire of machlokes AND EVERYONE IS SILENT.
Something awful happened – they say of Rabbi Berland Shlit”a ‘yimach shmo’ (may his name be erased), [they call him] Shabtai Tzvi.
Those evil people prepared everything in advance, just how they put to the media outlets, they already had interviews prepared in advance, all they were constantly thinking about was how can they spread more dirt.
How can we act against Rav Berland? How can we create another wave of bloodshed against Rav Berland? Another wave of loathing? How can we get people to loathe everyone who is connected to that specific community?
I want to ask, if everything was really true and correct, wouldn’t it certainly have pained every single Breslov chassid?
These were Jews that were with us for years. We travelled together to Uman, we went out to hitbodedut, we strengthened each other, we served Hashem together, we received charity from Rav Berland.
Suddenly, certain people arrived, with their own agenda. They sat and falsely prepared a case thinking that this is going to work. The community was sitting ducks. One [persecutor] even swore on a Sefer Torah that he was going to do this. They argued amongst themselves who would swear, in order to wipe out this community (i.e. Shuvu Banim) and this Jew (Rabbi Berland), who stands at its head.
We all know how much Rabbenu and Rav Natan spilled their blood in order to strengthen us in [the matter of] prayers. If the ‘story’ would have really happened, they would have got together secretly, and prayed.
But this thing definitely didn’t happen! (I.e. everything that they accused Rav Berland of.)
But this wasn’t their direction. The whole time, for years, they didn’t pray about this at all (i.e. to see if it was true, and then what to do about it.)
They printed colorful pamphlets of lies against the Rav and his community, but not once did they pray about it. Instead, they just aimed at their ‘targets’ with harm and loathing.
My colleagues, the fire is burning, and everyone needs to take a bucket, and to help.
Also me, despite my smallness, I am also obligated to cry out. Every day, terrible things are happening here. We are obligated to look at where we have made a mistake, both where we acted, and where we didn’t act [when we should have].
Each person knows themselves how much bad and distance entered into his heart, in the matter of bein adam l’havero.
I looked in the Chofetz Chaim, and in the words of Chazal, for what to say, but it’s clear that the most severe thing is disgracing someone in public, and speaking lashon hara, and causing machloket.
How happy I am, that I left those other chassidut and came closer to chassidut Breslov. I rejoice in my lot, but the yetzer hara doesn’t stay silent. I thought I was leaving machloket but now I see it’s only stronger here.
The men of the Tzaddik, the men of Rabbenu HaKadosh, and all the tzaddikim, work together on tikkun olam, to rectify the world and return people in teshuva, and to ignite hearts in the service of Hashem. So, Hashem is testing us.
And what’s happening here?
The yetzer hara is succeeding to clothe itself in their avodat Hashem. They call it ‘Machloket l’shem shemayim’ – but it’s blood spilled in every direction, “l’shem shemayim” (for the sake of Heaven.) Hashem Yirachem.
The evil trait of wanting to prove our point even if it’s false, doesn’t let us admit this, but this is what is happening in this matter.
Another wave of muckspreading in the media, more blood shed, for everyone in this community. I don’t want to go into what I’ve experienced, but they (i.e. the Rav’s persecutors] are shedding blood.
One example: there’s a Rosh Kollel who went through hell.
He wasn’t a chassid Breslov, but he managed to become the head of a kollel. He supported two avreichim from Shuvu Banim at the kollel, but he couldn’t stand up to the pressure of the persecutors. So for a time he didn’t come to the Kollel any more.
What’s happening here?
You want to ‘save Judaism’, so you [told him] that he needs to kick out these avreichim, the sons of baalei teshuva who never learned Torah in their youth?! These avreichim who separated themselves from their families and returned to Torah. And we’re meant to be ‘fixing the world’ with agitating to get these avreichim thrown out of the kollel?!
Where did they get this cruelty from?
The posek told me about children from Shuvu Banim who were in a Talmud Torah that wasn’t Breslov, and that at a certain point, they were told to not bring their children back to the Talmud Torah. The Headmaster said,
I know your children are good, and that your families are good, but I can’t stand up to the Pressure of the persecutors.
From the beginning of the year, the children have no longer been in school, and are just roaming the streets, because these ‘tzaddikim’ (said sarcastically) saw them as easy targets, and want to erase and wipe out the Shuvu Banim community at any price.
This is the most terrible thing! Where are the words to describe this?!
They take a child who is learning mishnayot, and all of his life is ruined, because of this evil persecution. These things happened behind closed doors, but there are enough terrible things to shake the entire world.
Come, let’s be real.
Let’s request forgiveness from Hashem, and try to fix this.
I ask Am Yisrael to say we made a mistake, let’s end this plague.
The Rambam says: The prophets prophesize; they see the disasters but they don’t see where it ends. I’m crying out in the name of the Jewish multitudes that are crying out and weeping. This is already staunching the wound. We are obligated to be strong, and to say
I made a mistake! I joined in with a machloket!
Instead of being a firebrand, get busy with fighting against this, and kicking against this!
The holy Arizal wanted to bring the redemption but said he wasn’t able to because two of his students were arguing between themselves. The machloket stopped the redemption, and we are now several hundred years after that. How much Jewish blood has been shed? How much self-sacrifice from the Tzaddikim has there been?
We want to reach the redemption, who knows how guilty we are, in the matter of delaying it? And how many sticks we poked in the wheel?
Twenty years ago, I was with my teacher and Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern. A precious Jew came to speak to him about how much the year 5760 (2000) was fitting to be the year of the geula.
Rav Morgenstern said,
this won’t be happening, because we are so stuck in machloket.
And now look, 20 more years of serving Hashem have passed, but the yetzer hara doesn’t stay quiet for a moment, and continues to bring us to more machloket.
The Chofet Chaim says that it is the way of the yetzer hara to cause a person to develop the evil traits of victory seeking, and then the yetzer shows him many heterim (halachic loopholes / permissions) as to why it is ok to believe lashon hara and join the machloket.
I don’t want to describe to you how many people they slaughtered [with their words]. What cruelty occurred. I want to judge favorably.
The yetzer hara succeeded in its mission, and plunged Breslov Chassidut into seven years of machloket. This is the way it’s been: to gloat, to take vengeance and to harm others.
We made a mistake!
There were things done here that should never have been done against the Shuvu Banim community, and against anyone in Breslov who didn’t join in with the persecutors.
I, together with many others, were afraid to speak out, in case they came against us.
I myself heard from Rav Koenig of Tzfat, two years ago, that there was a family there that the husband was connected to Shuvu Banim, and the wife was connected to Rav Kivak. Rav Koenig was so upset, about how much influence [the Rav’s persecutors had] to decide things and destroy a whole community.
I was with this Rav and posek yesterday (i.e. the Rav who gave over the warning), who in front of me picked up the phone and called Rabbi Shimon Shapira who is sick with the coronavirus, he asked him “don’t you think that this is midda kneged midda, for what was done to Rav Berland?”
Rav Shapira answered,
I know, but I am afraid. I don’t sleep at night. I cry about this every night. I am too frightened to do Anything [in support of Rav Berland].
Rav Kluger concludes:
I call on every Jew to start praying as strongly as they can, that we will get out of this yetzer hara of victory seeking. I beg those who are part of the persecution of Rav Berland:
You have the power to seek victory for holiness! You are certainly holy souls who have been drawn into machloket. But now it’s enough! Stop this for at least 2-3 months, for the mageifa to pass.
Maybe each one of us will try, during the days of Counting the Omer, to recite the Tikkun HaKlali, to try to fix these matters. So that Hashem will enlighten our hearts and enlighten our brains, so that we’ll be able to subdue our stubborn nature, and starting doing His will in truth.
In the letters of the Baal HaTanya, he writes that most of the suffering and difficulties of Am Yisrael come from the sin of machloket l’shem shemayim (for the sake of Heaven).
Come, let us pray that we won’t have a share in the sin of machloket.