Check it out HERE.
With all the pseudo-Torah, pseudo-prophecies and pseudo-'messages from Heaven' out there on the net, it's a huge relief to find a discussion of solid Torah sources describing some of the more interesting aspects of the coming of Moshiach.
Check it out HERE.
I’ve been expecting the geula imminently for around 12 years now - and checking in with the geula blogs as a result - and over that time I’ve been bombarded with hundreds of exciting messages about the end of the world, many BREAKING NEWS!!! moments when it really did look like that might be happening, plus thousands upon thousands of predictions, guesses, pundit pieces and others.
After 12 years (!) of all that, I’ve come to rely on only one thing as having any true credibility:
Messages from true Tzaddikim.
And that’s about it.
It’s not that I don’t think there isn’t value in many of the other podcasts, posts, lessons and YouTube videos from some of the other people I respect very highly. It’s just that I know our true Tzaddikim have ruach hakodesh - they talk to God regularly, they are given access to spiritual secrets and deliberations that ordinary people like you and me just don’t have, however much Torah learning we have, or hitbodedut (personal prayer) we’re doing every week.
Also, as is known, our true Tzaddikim excel in changing God’s mind from ‘harsh justice’ to more merciful ways. When God wanted to blast the Jewish people out of existence following the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe Rabbenu simply wouldn’t let him.
To put that scenario into modern terms, this is what would have played out on the internet just after the Golden Calf:
The autistics would have put out a statement with a ton of ‘oys’ and ‘voys’ about the terrible sin committed, and predict that 2/3 of the Jewish people (minimum) were about to be annihilated by God - and they’d be right!
Except, except, except….Moshe Rabbenu interceded (secretly…) and the picture changed drastically. Rav Glazerson would then have a Torah Code YouTube clearly showing that ‘Erev Rav’ and ‘Golden Calf’ intersected with ‘annihilation of the Jewish people’ and ‘saved by Moshe Rabbenu’.
Then, all the bloggers would have gone to work. Many would be screaming their lungs out about the imminent destruction of the Jewish people (while completely ignoring the role of the true Tzaddikim in avoiding that scenario). Many would be offering up their own take on WHY IT WAS HAPPENING (again, while completely ignoring what the true Tzaddikim were actually saying about it), some would ignore the whole situation completely, or come up with a conspiracy theory blaming Yasser Arafat for everything, and two would be telling the truth:
Namely, that there WAS a big decree of destruction against the Jewish people because of the sin they committed, but the Tzaddik of the generation, Moshe Rabbenu, cancelled it out with his prayers and self-sacrifice.
And of all the opinions and ‘fluff’ out there, only that last one is relevant, because it’s the only statement that’s really 100% true.
THE ONLY WARNINGS AND MESSAGES THAT REALLY MATTER COME FROM OUR TRUE TZADDIKIM
When Moshe Rabbenu later told his brother Aaron to run with the incense pan to the camp to stop the plague that had broken out, this was a clear example of the Tzaddik HaDor being very clued-in to what was a clear and present danger to the Jewish people, and what wasn’t, and also, crucially, WHY IT WAS HAPPENING.
Which brings me to the crux of this post. It’s been very interesting to me to see that every ‘alternative’ pronouncement of death and destruction, every ‘message’ predicting the future, every weird occurrence going on in the world, from strange weather to bizarre geophysical phenomenon is given reams of space in the Jewish blogosphere, while the messages from a number of huge Tzaddikim about what’s going on with Rav Berland - and its connection to the ongoing geula process - are being almost completely ignored.
You should know that Rav Glazerson has at least 12 videos on YouTube clearly pointing out that Rav Berland is completely innocent, being persecuted by the Erev Rav, and that his imprisonment is directly connected to geula and Moshiach coming. I can think of one blog (maybe two…) that is bringing these videos to your attention, while I know of many other blogs who link to pretty much every OTHER video Rav Glazerson puts out that doesn’t talk directly about Rav Berland.
Why is this?
Even the autistics recently came out with a message stating clearly that Rav Berland was innocent and suffering for the sins of the generation. I waited to see if this would be publicized or mentioned by some of the blogs who believe the autistics are modern-day prophets - nothing, nada, nope.
Rav Dov Kook and other of the nation’s leading Tzaddikim including Rav Chaim Dovid Stern and Rav Shalom Arush, have come out with statement after statement in support of Rav Berland, and making it clear that his persecution is directly linked to the geula process of the Jewish people.
When Rav Kook made a statement saying he could see a gezeira coming because of the mixed gender bathing in Tiveria a few months’ ago, many bloggers fell over themselves to report on it at length.
Yet when Rav Kook made the statement last week that all the supernatural fires hitting Israel were because of the suffering and persecution of Rav Berland, it was met with an industrial silence in the blogosphere.
Why was that?
SOOO many bloggers commented on the ‘Fire Intifada’, quoting this one and that one, and coming up with their own ideas of WHY it happened and WHO’S really behind it and WHAT TO DO about it. Yet when one of the leading Gedolei HaDor puts out a public statement clearly linking Rav Berland’s persecution by the Israeli government to these fires - no-one quoted it. No-one mentioned it.
If the Torah codes and Rav Kook, and Rav David Abuchatzeira and Rav Chaim Dovid Stern, and the Milkman, and Rav Fish are good enough when it comes to all the other things we quote them about, then shouldn’t they also be believed when they’re telling us Rav Berland is innocent, his incarceration is directly connected to geula and the coming of Moshiach, and last week’s fires are directly connected to his terrible mistreatment at the hands of the Erev Rav?
And if they AREN’T good enough - then why quote them on other matters that also regularly contradict the mainstream view of things?
Why the double-standard?
Sure, I know there’s a lot of heretical psychos out there who love to insult and abuse people who write positively about Rav Berland (hi guys!) As a blogger myself, I know that I also don’t want to accidentally mislead my readers or write something that’s incorrect.
But here’s the thing: people like Rav Dov Kook don’t have ‘opinions’ or cook up conspiracy theories about what they think may be going on in the world. Rav Kook, Rav Stern and others - they have ruach hakodesh.
They know stuff because Hashem Himself is telling them.
Emunat Tzaddikim means that we believe in the words of our true Tzaddikim, even when that contradicts what we think we know (by reading all the latest conspiracy theories, opinion pieces and wild guesses masquerading as ‘prophecy’ on the web…)
I have no problem publicly supporting Rav Berland a million per cent, because that stance is not based on my own opinion, it’s daat Torah.
ALL THE REAL TZADDIKIM ARE BEHIND RAV BERLAND 100%.
(I know there’s also a bunch of pseudo-tzaddikim talking against him who strangely also don't seem to have heard all these public messages from our true tzaddikim supporting him, but that’s in order to maintain free will, and to make the test more difficult.)
So let’s sum up what I’m trying to get at:
Maybe someone can enlighten me.
Recently, I met a lovely young couple who just made aliyah from France. I was seriously impressed by their level of sincerity, and also the enormous self-sacrifice they made to move to Israel, away from everything and everyone familiar.
The husband, who’ll I’ll call Eitan, didn’t have perfect English, but his English was certainly good enough to converse on a number of topics, including Torah.
Today, my husband told me the shocking news: Eitan got thrown out of his English-speaking kollel because the ‘Rav’ (those speech marks are deliberate….) who is running it decided his English wasn’t good enough, and that Eitan wasn’t the sort of student this kollel wants to attract.
Dear reader, this kollel consists of five students, and has been steadily diminishing in size over the last two years ever since this new ‘Rav’ took over. My husband happens to know the ‘Rav’ of this kollel, so he went to find out what the problem with ‘Eitan’ was.
In a nutshell, the only problem with Eitan was that he didn’t fit the ‘Rav’’s arrogant and delusional ideas of what ‘his’ kollel should look like. This ‘Rav’ wants a kollel full of the best Torah learners in the world! Full of frum-from-birth matmids! Full of pilpul, and thumbs, and most importantly of all, full of people who think this ‘Rav’ is the best thing since sliced bread, and who don’t require any time, effort or investment from their ‘teacher’.
Eitan, as a baal teshuva new immigrant to Israel, simply doesn’t fit this profile. Never mind, he has the sort of emuna that would make the Baal Shem Tov proud. Never mind, he’s been getting up for Chatzot (the midnight lament) for months - something that I GUARANTEE this ‘Rav’ has never done in his life.
Eitan is one of the most sincere spiritual-seekers I’ve ever met. Yet this ‘Rav’ in his arrogance, kicked him out of his kollel solely because he’s not (yet…) an expert in Gemara.
(Here’s something else: Even if he stayed in that kollel for 50 years, he would still NEVER become an expert in the Gemara, because that kollel ‘Rav’ is also a really bad teacher.)
When my husband told me all this, I got so flipping mad! I couldn’t believe that a supposedly ‘frum’ Jew could be so arrogant, insensitive and plain horrible to kick someone so unabashedly good out of their kollel, simply because he doesn’t fit the delusional mould this ‘Rav’ has in mind for his students.
The question is, what to do about this? You see, my husband knows this ‘Rav’’s boss, and that Rabbi would be completely aghast if he knew what this Kollel Rav is doing. At this moment, I’m of the view that my husband should go and fight for ‘Eitan’ to be reinstated. You see, this is not the first time it’s happened.
Two years’ ago, there was another very bright student who I’ll call Michael who this kollel ‘Rav’ also took a dislike to, primarily because he had some learning difficulties, and required some extra time and effort that this ‘Rav’ simply didn’t want to give him.
In that case too, this ‘Rav’ cooked up a whole big story about why this guy wasn’t good enough for the kollel - but God made it that another more senior student took Michael under his wing, poured a lot of time and attention in to him, and encouraged him to stay at the yeshiva.
I can honestly say that Michael would have sunk like a stone if this other student hadn’t given him a hand to pull him back up on his feet.
Eitan and Michael are real people. When they get kicked out of their kollels, or their yeshivas - not because they are spiritually-dodgy, or nasty people, or don’t want to learn Torah - that reflects SO badly on the whole of the Jewish nation.
Do you think God has any pleasure at all from a kollel that puts ‘learning’ over people?!
The two go together, and cannot be separated. There are so many stories in the Gemara of big rabbis who sat 200 times, even, with their ‘dumb’ student until the dumb student finally got what they were learning. And more often than not, those ‘dumb’ students turned into the next generation’s biggest Torah luminaries.
That’s how real rabbis act. By contrast, ‘Erev Rav’ type rabbis who are only interested in their prestige, and in how much kudos they get from teaching in ‘their’ kollel don’t act like that at all. People don’t matter to faker ‘rabbis’, which is why they are so quick to press the eject button.
If someone is a missionary, or a spiritually-corrupting influence, then that’s a reason to kick them out. But if they’re not? And they’re just a bit slow? Or they don’t have ‘perfect’ language skills? Or they just require a bit more patience to teach?
Woe to the ‘Rav’ that kicks these students out, and woe to his institution. God wants us to learn Torah in order for us to strengthen our characters and improve our bad middot. Learning Torah is not an end in itself, it’s the primary tool of building our souls and our connection to God, and developing into a God-fearing Jew.
When people like this ‘Rav’ make the externals of learning Torah a priority over developing their student’s souls, they turn the Torah into a potion of death, instead of a potion of life. They literally kill people with their elitism, and their arrogance and their false notions of what learning Torah really is all about.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand these people anymore!
Sigh. I hate all the fighting. But if we don’t start to stand up to these nasty, selfish, elitist ‘rabbis’ and their warped ideas, they’ll force more and more ‘Eitans’ and ‘Michaels’ off the Derech, and I know for sure that THAT is the last thing God wants.
When I was listening to how the secular news was reporting on the 'Esh Intifada' I suddenly started thinking that I'd heard something very similar to this before...
Ancient Egypt woke up to the news that Jewish terrorists had struck their country, in a daring raid which caused every source of water to become polluted with blood overnight.
Speaking on Channel 2, Kismat Bakari, the head of the ShishBak Egyptian Secret Service said: “At least 60% of these environmental pollution acts were deliberate, and carried out by Jewish terrorists.”
Bakari vowed that he would track down the Jews responsible for the latest atrocity, and commented that the ShishBak had already rounded-up 20 likely looking suspects - all Jews from the Nile’s West Bank.
Shocking footage was also released of the head terrorist, Moshe Rabbenu, and an accomplice, deliberately poisoning the river close to the Egyptian capital, Memphis.
Later on, Pharoah Nistmatayu broadcast a live statement to the nation saying: “I am holding Moshe Rabbenu, the head of the Jewish terrorists, responsible for this atrocity. The Egyptian people will not be broken be acts of terrorism, and we will use all means at our disposal to track down the infiltrators and show them the State of Egypt means business.”
According to sources within the Jewish camp, as soon as this act of environmental terrorism began, the Jews began a twitter campaign using ‘#The first plague’, and Facebook was full of posts stating that ‘Hashem was taking his revenge’ against the heretical and God-less Egyptian government for their persecution of the Jews, and in particular, for their treatment of the Jewish leader, Moshe Rabbenu.
Moshe Rabbenu is a well-known fugitive from justice who absconded from the country 60 years ago after deliberately murdering a high-ranking Egyptian official in public. Despite the ShishBak’s efforts to track Moshe Rabbenu down and bring him back to stand trial, Rabbenu managed to elude them for decades by disguising himself as a shepherd. (Other sources claim that he disguised himself as the King of an African country.)
After 60 years of diplomatic wrangling with Midian, the Midianite Justice Minister Jethro agreed to incarcerate Moshe Rabbenu for ten years down a well, pending his extradition back to the State of Egypt.
Upon his return, the 80 year old Moshe Rabbenu was immediately brought for trial to the Court of Ra in Memphis for his crimes against the State of Egypt, particularly the capital crime of encouraging the Jewish people to believe in Hashem.
Rabbenu made the stunning claim in court that the Jewish people should be freed, and threatened dire retribution if justice wasn’t done. Immediately after his court appearance, the Jewish terrorists struck, and poisoned every source of water in the country.
While the ShishBak are still trying to figure out how it was possible for two-and-a-half terrorists to poison more than 250 watering holes in the same two day period without being seen or stopped, they are certain of one thing: There is absolutely NO WAY that God could behind all this.
The State of Egypt has vowed to not bow to terrorism; to crush the Jewish terrorists in their lairs; and to keep the leader of the Jewish terrorists, Moshe Rabbenu, in prison for the next 200 years.
“Moshe Rabbenu is a very dangerous man,” said Bakari. “He believes in the primacy of Torah law, he’s the head of a very large community, and he has a big impact on the people he comes in contact with”
The Jewish terrorists released a statement saying that if Moshe Rabbenu wasn’t released from prison ASAP, and allowed to lead his community in the service of Hashem, the State of Egypt would be hit by a devastating plague of frogs.
The ShishBak claim they are on the verge of breaking up this ‘Jewish terrorism’ ring, and that the residents of the State of Egypt should not be unduly concerned. “This is a fringe group and they’re making delusional claims,” stated Bakari. “The plague of frogs is simply a conspiracy theory designed to scare the State of Egypt into taking their claims that there is an Omniscient Creator of the world more seriously.
“There is no God, there is no Divine Providence, and the State of Egypt will continue to terrorize and abuse the Jewish slaves for the next 3,000 years. Justice will be done.”
Mehmet Batbura contributed to this report.
Rav Dov Kook from Tiveria said this about the fires hitting Israel more than five days' ago:
“All the terrible forest fires that are happening now around Zichron Yaacov are because of the persecution and suffering of the holy Tzaddik, Rav Eliezer Berland. The measure of justice is being weighed out primarily against us in the North, and we need to know that the terrible fires that are burning there in a few different places are because Rav Berland is being held in the North, close to Tiveria.
“The midrash says that when people persecute and shame Tzaddikim, then HaKadosh Baruch Hu brings fires to the world! All the slanderers and people who are speaking libels and falsehoods about this awesome, holy Tzaddik should be aware that soon, judgment will occur, and that there is a Judge mamash, who will reveal his [Rav Berland’s] honor and innocence to every eye."
As believing Jews, we know that God is behind the 'Esh Intifada'. Now, we have to figure out WHY it's really happening, spiritually-speaking and what message God is trying to give us.
The more things change, the more they really stay the same....
There was great excitement in the town: the town crier had just gone round the streets yelling at the top of his voice: “The bone has a message! The talking bone of Ov has another message! Everyone come gather in the town square!”
Mothers rushed out of their homes, leaving their boiling pots of soup unattended. Fathers put down their Gemaras and left their shop-fronts: The Talking bone of Ov had a message! They were about to find out what was really going on in the world.
Only in the house of Rabbi Gershon did this news not cause a stir. Rabbi Gershon was sick of all the messages from the talking bone of Ov, and also its competition, the talking bone of Yidoni. It was never uplifting messages about how much God loves His people. It was never a message to make real teshuva and to come back to God, and to start treating other people more kindly and more gently.
The talking bone of Ov was always full of ‘oys!’, and full of the whole-scale destruction of the Jewish people and conspiracy theories that elbowed God out the picture, and just caused people to walk around panic-stricken about the terrible tidings they’d heard.
Who needed that?!
In his youth, Rabbi Gershon had also been a follower of the talking bone of Ov, but in recent years, he’d started to ponder why the talking bone never mentioned the nation’s holy rabbis, and all the work they were doing to sweeten the decrees hanging over the Jewish people. It never talked about the importance of going to Uman for Rosh Hashana. It never brought messages of hope…
Still, he knew why people continued to run out of their homes to listen to the talking bone of Ov every few weeks: human beings hate uncertainty. We all like the idea that we know what’s coming next, and that we’re prepared for it. Knowledge is power.
Rabbi Gershon sighed deeply and picked up his chumash. He started to read again about divination and sorcery, and why our Sages had outlawed all those weird attempts at trying to predict the future like raising the dead, or listening to a talking bone that someone had shoved in their armpit.
Information is power. Knowledge is power. But information can also be used to mislead and deceive, and knowledge can also be used to control and manipulate.
Rabbi Gershon sighed again. When the sages of the generation pasted up posters telling the town residents to stop speaking so much lashon hara, and to spend more time praying and learning Torah and less time visiting the local market and circuses, no-one was interested. No-one ran from house to house, trying to gather a crowd to hear what the Sages were saying.
But this talking bone of Ov showed up, and hey presto! It immediately pulled in a crowd of thousands with its messages of imminent death and destruction.
Did people realize how ridiculous they looked, hanging on every word of a talking bone?!? Did they understand that there are no short-cuts, spiritually-speaking, and that the only people who really knew what was going on hardly ever communicated that to the masses?
Did they understand that the only way to get though the world in one piece was by making sincere, genuine teshuva, and coming back to God? It didn’t matter how many tins of tuna the talking bone told you to stock up on, how much death and destruction was being predicted (typically to coincide with the next Jewish holiday…) - even if you knew all that, even if it was true, how was it really going to help you?
Rav Gershon’s ponderings were interrupted from shouts and screams from the street. As his friend Shlomo rushed past, Rav Gershon called to him from the window, and asked him what was going on.
“The talking bone has predicted that a tidal wave will smash into our village on Shabbat, and destroy everyone who isn’t wearing sackcloth and ashes. I’m running over to Rami Levi right now to pick up some sackcloth, and 50 tins of tuna,” Shlomo called over his shoulder.
“But we’re 3,000 foot up a mountain!” Rav Gershon called after his friend. “And the sea is 30 miles away!” But Shlomo had disappeared already.
Rav Gershon sighed again. Shabbat would come, and be ruined for most of the villagers who would sit there with fear in their hearts and terror on their faces. Never mind that the last 83 predictions of earthquakes hitting on Chanuka, nuclear bombs being dropped on Pesach, and ginormous Martian cockroaches invading on Purim hadn’t materialized.
Whatever the talking bone said, that was law.
Rav Gershon returned to studies, and pondered the world around him. A world were people preferred to listen to talking bones, CNN and Arutz Sheva, instead of listening to the words of our true sages.
So, I was talking to a lawyer friend I have who is very knowledgeable about how the legal courts work in Israel, and they told me the following:
If someone makes a plea bargain, it doesn’t automatically follow that they will get their sentence reduced as a result. Because the courts in Israel work more along the ‘Stalinist Show Trial’ model than anything that you or I would recognize as a genuinely just legal system that’s interested in getting to the truth, people making a plea bargain have to grovel abjectly to the judges and show enough ‘remorse’ before the judges will commute their sentence.
When I started getting the emails yesterday telling me about what Rav Berland had apparently said in his court ‘confession’, I was a little stumped at first. I thought: “Either he didn’t say it” - because let’s be clear, honest reporting has NOT been the name of the game with Rav Berland, or I thought: “If he said it, he’s for sure apologizing globally for something on a much higher level than we can grasp.”
Now my friend has given me a third explanation, that ties in very neatly with the recent video by Rav Glazerson where he basically explained that Rav Berland’s ‘confession’ got squeezed out of him by the erev rav-type people running the corrupt legal system.
In a nutshell, we live in a Jewish version of Stalin’s Russia, where the appearance of justice is far more important than actual justice itself. Whenever a legal system is going all out for ‘public confessions’ instead of evidence and due process, a big red flag should pop up in everyone’s brain that something very dodgy is going on.
True, they don’t salute big portraits of Stalin (although Ben Gurion comes close…) but in many other ways, the Israeli court system is straight out of a communist gulag.
So it was that Rav Berland, who had been denied a fair trial for many months’ already because THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE was told he had to sit in jail for two more years until the case was concluded, OR make a plea bargain with a public confession (because there’s NO EVIDENCE other than self-incrimination).
And if the confession wasn’t contrite enough, and sincere enough, and didn’t contain enough juicy soundbites for Channel 2, then even with the plea bargain, the judges still weren’t going to reduce his sentence.
Voila - we now have the forced public ‘confession’, the forced public apology, and the State of Israel can now pretend that the 10 million shekels it spent chasing the Rav all over the world when there wasn’t even an arrest warrant out for him was money well spent.
Justice has been done!
Thankfully, there is still a true Judge, and true justice is still coming down the pipe. One clue to the supernatural nature of everything involving Rav Berland was the number of forest fires that sprang up around the country at exactly the same time the Show Trial in Jerusalem’s HaShalom Court was being concluded.
There were literally at least 6 forest fires being reported in the press yesterday, and they were in very different locations, from down South, to the Shomron, to all the way up North, near Zichron Yaacov. (And since I wrote this yesterday night, a new massive fire has now broken out near Modiin.)
Rav Dov Kook from Tiveria had this to say about it: “All the terrible forest fires that are happening now around Zichron Yaacov are because of the persecution and suffering of the holy Tzaddik, Rav Eliezer Berland. The measure of justice is being weighed out primarily against us in the North, and we need to know that the terrible fires that are burning there in a few different places are because Rav Berland is being held in the North, close to Tiveria.
“The midrash says that when people persecute and shame Tzaddikim, then HaKadosh Baruch Hu brings fires to the world! All the slanderers and people who are speaking libels and falsehoods about this awesome, holy Tzaddik should be aware that soon, judgment will occur, and that there is a Judge mamash, who will reveal his [Rav Berland’s] honor and innocence to every eye.”
In the meantime, do you remember THIS POST from a couple of weeks’ ago about the ‘Luminaries of Light’ and how they are opposed by the pseudo-miracle working, corrupt-leader type ‘Luminaries of Fire’?
Here’s a reminder: In Part 2 of Likutey Moharan, Lesson 67, Rebbe Nachman writes:
“There are luminaries of light and luminaries of fire, and they are antagonistic [i.e. opposing each other.] When the luminaries of light are empowered, the luminaries of fire are subdued, and inversely, when the luminaries of light are subdued and diminished, the luminaries of fire are empowered.”
A little later on in that same lesson, Rebbe Nachman explains that:
“When someone who totally lacks God’s name becomes renowned - when his name becomes renowned and exalted - God’s name becomes diminished and disappears. Then, pseudo-miracle workers and magicians become exalted, and things happen in the world against which only the names of demonic powers are able to protect against….
“Fires are caused in the world on account of the names of these ignominiously renowned people becoming great and enhanced, for this causes God’s name to disappear, the luminaries of light to be subdued, and the luminaries of fire to become empowered.”
People, don’t you think it’s AMAZING that just when a ‘Luminary of Light’ was having his Show Trial in Jerusalem, all these fires broke out all over the place in the middle of winter?! And that this is exactly the scenario Rebbe Nachman wrote about in Lesson 2:67, that I happened to quote two weeks ago when I was trying to explain the difference between a ‘Luminary of Light’ like Rav Berland, and the corrupt, evil ‘Luminaries of Fire’ out there?
It seems to me Hashem is starting to deal with the world with more and more revealed Divine Providence. It seems to me that ‘reward and punishment’ for trying to obey God, or doing the opposite, is about to get a whole lot more real and tangible. (Depending on where you’re holding spiritually, that either made you really happy, or more than a little concerned…)
Fasten your seatbelts. There are interesting times ahead.
I received some comments on the last post, which require some clarification.
Firstly, there are a few Breslev zealots in Meah Shearim, and it's by no means a widespread phenomenon. I'm very sorry if that's the impression anyone got from yesterday's post.
The four main leaders of Breslev Meah Shearim in the previous generation, Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender, Rav Shmuel Shapira, Rav Hersh Leib Lippel and Rav Binyamin Zev Cheshin were all huge tzaddikim in their own right, and very welcoming of outsiders. All four of these leaders also approved of, and backed, Rav Berland and his outreach work to the hilt.
It's only when these leaders died, in 1988 and then 1989, that the small group of Breslev zealots in Meah Shearim started acting against Rav Berland in a much more open and agressive way.
The people who were 'against' Rav Berland and his outreach efforts were also 'against' the Breslev leaders' outreach efforts, albeit in a much quieter way.
For example, when Rav Dov Ber Odessa personally encouraged the 3rd President of the State of Israel, Rav Zalman Shahar to come and pray in the Breslev shul, the President was verbally attacked in the shul by the Breslev zealots.
When Rav Levi Yitzhak started giving shiurim in Hebrew, as opposed to Yiddish, primarily to the students Rav Berland was bringing to his Thursday night shiur, the Breslev zealots padlocked Rav Levi Yitzhak's house, to prevent the shiur from happening - and Rav Bender told the students to break down the door with crowbars!
The following is an excerpt of the last recorded shiur that Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender gave at the end of his life, in 1989, (translated from the Yiddish) where he alludes to the simmering machloket being stoked by the Breslev zealots against Rav Berland, and makes a plea for unity:
RAV LEVI YITZHAK’S LAST WORDS
In the last couple of years before he passed away, Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender could see that the faction of Breslev extremists in Meah Shearim were doing everything in their power to try to bring Rav Berland down, and to challenge his ascendancy within Breslev, and it pained him greatly.
Rav Bender’s path was always to try and strengthen and uplift others, and he stayed away from any hint of machloket or communal politics. But as his physical strength started to wane towards the end of his life, Rav Bender departed from his usual circumspection to make a very unusual and powerful plea for unity.
‘LOVE AND UNITY BETWEEN US IS LACKING!’
Rav Bender began: “It says about the meraglim (spies) that: "All of them were leaders of the Children of Israel." However, when they realized that they wouldn’t be the leaders in Eretz Yisrael, they made such a terrible storm with their evil speech, that they caused the entire nation to remain in the desert.
“It’s impossible even to imagine how much Rebbe Nachman could reveal to us and influence us if only all the Breslov Chassidim would be united as one…. By us this is missing! I see it, and others see it as well, love and unity between us is lacking!”
Rav Bender continued: “When I begin to speak about the topic of love, people don’t understand what I’m referring to, they have no idea what I’m talking about, but we need to know that this is what’s lacking, this is what’s lacking by us!!!...Even if I don’t agree with the other person I still need to love him!
“We have to be very careful not to lose or even lessen the love between all the Breslov Chassidim. When I‘m talking about how we need to hold ourselves together in unity, people have no idea what I’m talking about! It seems to them that I’m talking in a different language!’
“I cannot speak about the specifics, because our way is not to interfere in the other person’s life… So, I speak in a general manner, but from my words one must take specific meanings… the power of Rabbenu is so strong, but it could be so much more awesome, so much more beautiful and even more beautiful - and it all depends upon: ‘If we are holding ourselves together in unity!!!’
“Rabbi Nachman said: ‘I judge everyone to the side of mercy, apart from an argumentative person.’
“We see in the Torah that Aharon HaKohen and Miriam the prophetess spoke disparagingly about Moshe Rabbeinu (BaMidbar 12:1)…They spoke lashon hara, they argued against Moshe Rabbeinu, and Hashem immediately punished them…Both of them certainly had pure intentions, nevertheless they caused machlokes and they were punished!
“And Moshe Rabbeinu himself wasn’t so bothered by their speaking against him…[but] for the sin of speaking lashon hara there is always a punishment. Whether the punishment will occur immediately or be delayed – this is a decision made Above, but certainly a punishment will come!
“Hashem has mercy on us. We have Rebbe Nachman, a merciful Rebbe, a true merciful leader! Rabbenu judges everyone favorably. Nevertheless, WATCH YOURSELVES! Watch yourselves with this one point, because about this he is not silent. You will get punished for this [the sin of speaking lashon hara] no matter how great you are!
“We have no idea about the secrets of the arguments between the tzaddikim, therefore, DON’T GET INVOLVED! It seems like they are arguing but in reality, they are working together... All of a sudden, a third person gets involved and gives his opinion ‘this one is good, that one is bad…’ He is messing up the whole thing!”
At this point in the lecture, someone in the audience asked Rav Bender: “Are you talking about the machlokes that is happening today in Breslev?” referring to what was occurring with Rav Berland and his followers. Rav Bender replied:
“We cannot be specific, so we are speaking in general terms… Even during the times of the machlokes about whether Rosh Hashana should be in Meron or in Yerushalayim, Rav Shmuel Shapira, ztl, never opened his mouth against another person. He did what he thought was right and went to Meron but before he would leave he would come and depart from me with love and friendship.
“He would give me his pidyon and I would give him mine. We were one soul! He would go to Meron and I would stay in Yerushalayim, we separated but we constantly prayed for each other… And he returned from Meron with love and friendship.
“This is the true way! Because with words of argument each person hurts the other and it can lead to forbidden speech… May Hashem help us that we live long and begin to listen to Rabbenu…He wants from us only one this: Stick together! Each of you must be filled with love for the other and go in the way of truth.”
The hatred that started 30 years' ago is still going strong amongst this small group of Breslev zealots and their adherents. That's a fact, and it has to be recognised and addressed.
Another commentator queried how Y.T.C. could be publicly named by the Milkman, Rav Chaim Cohen. The answer is that there are categories of people who it's not only permitted to speak against, it's required to speak against them. Top of this list is people who go around spreading lies in order to cause severe machloket, or argument and dissension.
There will be much, much more to say about everything that's going on around Rav Berland over the coming weeks. BH, I will put some more stuff together and post it up.
The sad truth is that there are some very troubled people in the world, and there is no Jewish group, however 'frum' or pedigreed, that does not have its own share of mentally-ill crazy people. If we don't recognise the problems that are going on all around us, and call a spade a spade, we simply aren't going to be able to break free of all the evil and machloket that is tying us all up in knots and preventing the coming of Moshiach.
I only learnt this information when I started researching the material for the book ‘One in a Generation’, but I was shocked to discover that there has been a small, Yiddish-speaking group of extremists centred around the Breslev Shul in Meah Shearim, who have been strongly opposed to the Rav and his followers from the very beginning.
When the Rav first came to Breslev more than 45 years’ ago, he was a very well-respected Litvak Talmid Chacham who’d been learning chevruta daily with the Steipler Gaon for more than eight years, already.
Breslev chassidut at that point was almost dead. It had less than 500 adherents worldwide, most of whom were Yiddish-speaking, and lived in Meah Shearim. While the Breslev elders like Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender, Rav Shmuel Shapira and Rav Hersh Leib Lippel all welcomed Rav Berland very warmly, and encouraged his efforts to broaden-out the appeal of Breslev and Rabbi Nachman’s teachings, and to break open the way to Uman, a small group of Yiddish-speaking Breslev zealots resented him and his Hebrew-speaking students right from the start.
These zealots had a number of ‘issues’ with Rav Berland, as follows:
The Breslev zealots in Meah Shearim wanted to keep Breslev and Rebbe Nachman’s teaching to themselves, and bitterly resented the hundreds and then thousands of newcomers, Sephardim and baal teshuvas that were flooding into Breslev thanks to the efforts and outreach of Rav Berland.
They also bitterly resented the fact that a ‘Litvak outsider’ like Rav Berland should become the defacto leader of the next generation of Breslev chassidim. To boil it down, this internal Breslev feud against Rav Berland is rooted in religious snobbery, elitism, arrogance, jealousy and petty-mindedness - i.e., the very opposite of what true Breslev chassidut is really all about.
Over the years, this group has tried to involve Rav Berland and Shuvu Banim in many different controversies and scandals (machloket), but they couldn’t really do much against the Rav as long as he was riding high as the undisputed leader of Breslev chassidut, with tens of thousands of followers and a reputation as the Tzaddik of the generation.
KICKING A MAN WHEN HE’S DOWN
When the original false witness, I.N.S. showed up with his slanderous allegations against Rav Berland more than three years’ ago, the Breslev extremists from Meah Shearim lost no time in throwing their time, energy and money into manufacturing additional calumnies and lies against the Rav, as part of their 30-year long campaign of hate against Rav Berland and his followers.
The latest stage of this internal ‘war’ against Rav Berland and Shuvu Banim came to be spear-headed by a group of three particular Breslev zealots, the brothers Y.T.C. and L.C., plus T.Z. L.C. is a Breslev rabbi associated with the Breslev Shul in Meah Shearim, who is simply continuing the long tradition of hating Rav Berland and all the non-Yiddish speaking newcomers he’s introduced to Breslev chassidut.
Y.T.C.’s story is more complicated. For a period of time, he was actually a student at Shuvu Banim yeshiva, and also tried to get very close to the Rav. Shortly after the Rav left Jerusalem to go up North in 2011, Y.T.C. set himself up as a ‘peacemaker’ between the Rav and the group of people who had been persecuting the Rav and trying to control him for more than a decade within the Shuvu Banim yeshiva itself.
(That’s a story for another time - you’ll have to buy the book to hear more about that.)
In a recording of a conversation between Y.T.C. and Rav Berland from that time, you can clearly hear this Y.T.C. trying to take advantage of the Rav’s trait of nullifying himself to others to continue to manipulate him and control him for his own advantage. In that recording, Y.T.C. can be heard telling the Rav:
“Swear you won’t do anything without my permission…They [the other students at Shuvu Banim] don’t deserve you…You should only be with me…I believe you are the Moshiach.”
If Y.T.C. strikes you as being an emotionally-disturbed individual, you’ll be pleased to know that the great Kabbalist known as the Milkman, Rav Chaim Cohen, came to the same conclusion.
Shortly after Rav Berland returned to Israel in July 2016, the Milkman released a statement publicly naming Y.T.C., and describing him as a person who was filled with a: “spirit of dangerous insanity”, and warning others to stay away from him.
THE EXTREMISTS’ HAND IN THE LIBEL OF RAV BERLAND
While it’s hard to know exactly how much of the terrible libels against Rav Berland can be laid specifically at each door, what is clear is this:
Y.T.C., his brother L.C. and T.Z. were the people behind the forged recordings of the Rav’s so-called ‘confession’, and were also responsible for another forged clip of the Rav where they tried to portray him as inciting his followers to blow people up.
They sent these clips to the secular media, and also worked hand-in-glove with the Israeli police, giving the Israeli government the excuse they needed to keep the elderly, unwell Rav Berland in police custody as a ‘dangerous threat’ to the Israeli public.
Over the years, this group also unsuccessfully attempted to have the Rav and his followers condemned and excommunicated by a number of religious courts around the country.
‘ONLY IN BRESLEV DO YOU FIND THIS SORT OF MURDEROUS HATRED!’
The full story of what occurred at this period of time will be told in the book, but for now this is what Rav Yaacov Meir Salmanovitch, the former Rebbe of two of these persecutors, had to say about them:
“Who knows if the final redemption of our people hasn’t been delayed solely because of this terrible machloket, which 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!
“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!...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.”
RAV MOTTA FRANK SPEAKS OUT
When the horrendous forged recordings were widely publicized across the secular media, and the Rav continued to be imprisoned as a result, many Breslev leaders broke their silence, and decided to speak out against this group of Breslev extremists. One of them was Rav Motta Frank, one of the contemporary leaders of Breslev chassidut in Jerusalem.
Addressing the extremists directly, he said:
“You decided, and others like you decided, that he [Rav Berland] and his people, and all those who support him are ‘Sabateans’ [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, 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.”
THE RAV HAS ALWAYS DEALT KINDLY WITH HIS OPPONENTS
It cannot be overstated that the Rav had been dealing with continual persecution, opposition, lies and slanders since at least 1989, many decades before the events that became international news headlines. As has always been his way, the more others have tried to hurt, insult or humiliate him, the more kindness, love and forgiveness the Rav has typically shown them.
A leading figure in the Breslev community, Rav David Rubinstein explains more:
“Over the years, a lot of people have come through the yeshiva, and some of them even became vocal critics of the Rav. The amazing thing is that the Rav remembers these formers students who are now his opponents just as fondly as if they were still in the yeshiva.
“The Rav always used to tell us: ‘Don’t get involved in any machloket (strife)’, and he was very, very strict about this. Once the Rav commented: ‘Those people who are fighting my critics, I’d prefer that they’d fight me, instead of fighting my accusers.’
“On another occasion, he said: ‘Those people who are fighting back [against his accusers], they won’t last the distance, and in the end they’ll also become critics. Our way is only to pray. Our accusers are giving us presents, and we need to love them.’
“Throughout the years, the same people who have criticized the Rav have received the most compliments, titles and money from him. One time, the Rav even commented about one of the people who was at the head of the people attacking him that: ‘My best friend is Rav so-and-so, he’s the continuation of Rabbenu in our generation, and everyone should listen to him.’
“And he really is the Rav’s ‘best friend’, because he gave the Rav the thing that he most loves in the world, namely humiliation and insults.
THE RAV GIVES MONEY TO HIS PERSECUTORS
Rav Yosef Assulin, one of the Rav’s former attendants, shared the following story:
“The Rav has given more money to his opponents and persecutors than to almost anyone else. I’ve seen the Rav give envelopes full of money to many of the people who have spoken against him and insulted him.
“One Erev Rosh Hashanah, the Rav gave me $5000, and told me to give it to an individual who was one of the biggest persecutors and opponents of the Rav. To be honest, I didn’t so much feel like giving this guy the money, so I pushed it off and I took my time to get around to it.
“A few hours later, the Rav asked me if I’d done what he asked, and I told him I hadn’t got around to it yet. The Rav rebuked me: ‘My daughter is currently hovering between life and death, and you’re playing around with my tzedaka! Go immediately and do what I asked you!’ At that time, one of the Rav’s daughters was in labor, and the Rav felt that she needed a lot of Divine mercy to make it through OK.”
SETTLING OLD SCORES
This group of Breslev zealots is still going strong, and emboldened by their latest ‘successes’ against Rav Berland and Shuvu Banim, they have a number of additional plans to try to smear the Rav, and to make even more trouble for him and his followers.
They look like rabbis, they talk like rabbis, many of them even ARE rabbis - but in essence they are the antithesis of what a true Jew, and a true Breslever should be.
Following the Rav’s plea bargain to save his life and avoid him mouldering away for many more years in prison without a trial, this group and their spiritual allies are going to go all-out to try to pull more people against Rav Berland and his community.
It’s the spiritual test of birur that has to occur before Moshiach comes - and I can already tell you now that many, many religious people, both within the Breslev community and without, are going to fail it.
Before I explain what's going on, you should know something: the whole subject of Rav Berland is going to continue hitting the headlines until Moshiach comes. This is not a one-off event, and the story is going to continue to twist and turn for a while to come - maybe even for another 4-5 years.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the latest twist in the tale: why did the holy Rav, Rav Eliezer Berland, agree to a plea bargain where he ‘only’ has to serve 18 months in prison, if he didn’t do anything wrong!?!?
If you’ve been following developments for a while, especially here on Emunaroma or over on the enshuvubanim English website (the website of the Rav’s own yeshiva) then you’ll already know the following:
So now, let’s see WHY the Rav agreed to a plea bargain when he did absolutely nothing wrong.
Two weeks’ ago, when it became clear that the Israeli authorities were trying to keep the 80 year old Rav behind bars for another couple of years’ with no trial, new lawyers appeared on the scene who started arguing that the Rav’s best interests would be served by making a plea bargain that could see him out hopefully in the next 4-5 months, instead.
The secular authorities were simply not going to let the Rav come to court, and prove their corruption so publicly. There’s no evidence, no women, and there never were. THAT’S why the Rav was repeatedly freed by courts both in Israel and abroad, only to be kept locked up by the Appeals Court that is firmly in the back pocket of the Israeli Police - the same police who would be international laughing-stocks if the Rav went free.
So that’s why the Rav made the plea bargain: Better he gets out alive in 4-5 months, then he stays in trying to fight for his innocence for another two years (and the rest….)
Dear reader, Israel is not a democracy, however much it likes to pretend that it is. It’s controlled by a bunch of people who hate religious Jews, dislike any mention of God, and who are only interested in keeping up the appearance of democracy and justice.
This way, the Government gets to save face, the Rav gets a chance of being set free sooner rather than later, and the huge, enormous test of birur, or ‘clarification’ that has to happen before Moshiach reveals himself gets to ferret out even more people, particularly in the ‘frum’ camp, who will now believe they are justified in speaking the most disgusting slander and lies about the Gadol HaDor.
Man, it’s a huge test. I tremble at the number of people about to get caught up in making ‘pronouncements’ that are built on lies and emboldened by slander and hatred. But this seems to be what God wants, so the test will continue for quite some time to come.
For more background, take a look at the two interviews that were done with the new lawyer, Ephraim Dimri, who recommended that that Rav make a plea bargain with the backing of the Gedolei HaDor in Israel who really know how poisonous the so-called 'justice' system is here, and how important it was to get him out of prison ASAP.
In the next post, I’ll introduce you to the main ‘Breslev zealots’ who have been behind so much of the slander that enabled the police to keep the Rav in prison, and I’ll explain why they’ve been persecuting Rav Berland and his followers for 30 years’, already. They are still planning a whole bunch of other things against the Rav too, so forewarned is hopefully fore-armed.
Believe me, you really don’t want to end up where these people are going.
For the last few weeks, really since Rosh Hashana, I’ve been experiencing a very deep-seated sense of panic. It’s not ‘conscious’, inasmuch as there is nothing in the here and now that is freaking me out and making me hold my breath.
The Arab terror in Jerusalem has dropped off, thank God. My husband got a few more pieces of work in at the moment, thank God. My kids’ experiences are in a rare period of ‘OK’, and there are no immediate crises to deal with, thank God.
Yet, since Rosh Hashana I’ve had such a deep-seated sense of panic going on that it’s been disturbing my sleep and keeping me permanently in a tense ‘fight or flight’ state which means I have a lot of stress hormones working overtime in my body right now.
When the stress hormones surge, you can’t relax even if you want to until the reason for the stress is somehow overcome, or dissipates by itself. So now, I’ve been trying to figure out for the last two months what the heck is stressing me out so much.
I thought maybe after the American elections, the stress would drop off a little - and the day of Trump’s election, I did feel a little calmer and much happier. But 24 hours later, the stress was back. As you know, I’m writing a biography of Rav Berland, and I thought maybe the ‘stress’ of getting that project concluded could be part of the problem.
So I pulled out all the stops to get the draft done two weeks’ ago, planning to have a week’s holiday and ‘de-stress’ last week.
And guess what? I had the most horrible, ill, stressed-out, sleepless week for a long time.
I was having anxiety dreams, panic attacks, crying jags, I was physically really ill, with coughs, colds, headaches, weird aches, stomachaches - I pretty much didn’t leave my house for a week.
Enough was enough - I decided to go and visit one of my alternative health ladies who is very switched-on and connected to God, to see if she could help me figure out what was going on. She picked up on the latent ‘panicka’ in the first 10 seconds, and did her thing - which usually helps a lot. This time, it helped for about half a day, and then the panic came back again.
I was feeling so ill, I couldn’t really do a long hitbodedut session to ask God to show me what’s going on. But I tried a visualization to see where I’m holding internally, and I got a picture of me going up and down on a dark, stormy sea, mamash in a way that’s guaranteed to make you feel nauseous.
Then, I opened up the Likutey Moharan to a quote from Isaiah where it says something like: “Wicked people are like a raging ocean.” Hmm. Things started to fall a little more into place. Over the next few days, I was thinking about these clues God was sending me, that I feel like I’m being tossed all over the place in a world full of ‘raging, wicked’ people.
Sounds about right. But what to do about it, as the problem probably isn’t going to disappear anytime soon (Moshiach notwithstanding).
Today, I was doing some more hitbodedut, and went back to that visualisation. The scene had now changed a little, and I was on a raft on a stormy, but slightly calmer sea. Suddenly, the raft got a nice fence and a roof which made it much cosier and
more stable. Next, an enormously tall Rav Berland showed up and started towing my raft to safety - and not just my raft.
The Rav had literally thousands of ropes over his shoulder, and he was towing thousands of small, lost, vulnerable people like me to dry land and safety.
It was an amazing sight to behold.
When my oldest came back from her boarding school and the end of last week, she told me that she’s also been having the same sort of disturbing dreams that I’ve been having, and feeling mega-weird and ‘stressed’ and achey. My more taciturn youngest kid then also joined the conversation, and shared that she’d also been having lots and lots of ‘weird’ dreams about boats coming to Israel, and people trying to swim ashore.
The last few days, my husband also started feeling inexplicably stressed and antsy. I’m adding all this up, and I’m telling you that something ‘big’ is coming down the pipe soon. I’m not a prophet, or anything like one, but I live very close to the Kotel in Jerusalem, and we pick the international ‘vibe’ up here first as it’s making its way out into the world.
And what’s coming down the pipe right now is panic and some enormous fear. I don’t know what else is coming, and for sure it’s all part of God’s plan, and for the good. But if I were you, I’d make it a priority to hitch my raft to Rav Berland, and the
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