The headline in Al-Ha’aretz said it all: “Cult leader Moshe Rabbenu declares himself ‘a redeemer’; claims he can control the weather.”
Datan read the headline, then threw the paper down in disgust. Enough was enough! Datan had been reading the Rambam, and he knew that all this stuff about open miracles was really just symbolic stuff that his simple-minded, superstitious fellow Jews were sadly taking at face value.
I mean, Moshe Rabbenu and his followers were clearly a cult!
So many people were hanging on Moshe’s every utterance like it was the word of God, or something. And it didn’t matter how many exposes Ynet wrote accusing Moshe of making eyes at other people’s wives [see Sanhedrin 110a and 110b], the people were still just gullibly following after the guy, and thinking he was the moshiach, or something.
Datan took out his latest i-Phone, the Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury, kissed it reverentially, and scrolled over to the Witch of Endor’s site to see what she had to say about the whole thing.
“I don’t understand why more people aren’t coming out against Moshe Rabbenu!” began the Witch of Endor.
“Moshe Rabbenu was accused of serious crimes: he killed an Egyptian by uttering the ineffable name of Hashem, which is something only a xtian would do. And then he ran away from the Egyptian police for 80 years, which just shows he was guilty of everything they said he was.
“Now, he’s developing a dangerous ‘cult of the personality’, and making out like God needs to go through him to talk to the Jewish people, and that we need him around to really understand what God wants from us. Moshe Rabbenu has turned a man into God, and God into man!” screeched the Witch of Endor.
“We all know that the only way we’re going to get out of Egypt is by armed uprising! Every Jew needs an uzi! We need to put a bullet in the head of all the Erev Rav who are trying to leave Mitzrayim and then drop a nuke on Cairo and Midian! That is the true, Jewish way to achieving redemption.
"All this stuff about relying on God, believing in tzaddikim and working on your own personality flaws is cultish and anti-Jewish!”
Just then, a cluster of huge 5 inch flaming hail started smashing into Datan’s home and surroundings, destroying his garden and smashing his car windshield. He observed the huge dint in the bonnet of his Honda and sighed deeply. Man, something had to be done about CERN’s weather machine.
“Hand of God, my patootie!” muttered Datan.
Everyone knew the illuminati were behind all the tornados and freak weather that had been happening lately. All this stuff about God sending 'plagues' down to the world was just another example of all the superstitious, ‘cultish’ beliefs that had recently overtaken large sections of the Jewish community.
Datan flipped over to Aviram’s site, where Aviram had written a big long screed against ‘The cult of Hevron’. “Every year on the yahrtzeit of Avraham Avinu, thousands of misguided Jews are leaving their homes to go and ‘worship’ at his grave,” began Aviram.
“That journey takes at least two weeks, roundtrip, by express camel, but these people don’t care about the huge toll that takes on their families and children. They’ve been brainwashed by the cult of Hevron to keep hanging out at the Mearat HaMachpela, instead of just dealing direct with God, like a Jew is meant to do.
“The false guru Moshe Rabbenu has been one of the key people behind this disturbing new practice. He’s been teaching people that tzaddikim are greater in their deaths than in their lives (2) – which is clearly idol worship!!! We all know that once someone is dead, they’re dead and that’s it.”
Aviram continued: “I saw a video of a séance on Youtube where some guy who’d been to the Mearat HaMachpela came down as a disembodied spirit and explained that he’s suffering so much because he believed in all this superstitious clap-trap about visiting the graves of tzaddikim.
“It’s so tragic that someone in the Jewish world can create some new religious rites that then spread like a virus amongst the non-thinking masses,” bewailed Aviram. “Nobody was keeping Shabbat in our forefather’s time, but within a few years, this ‘mitzvah’ is going to magically attain the status of being an ancient tradition, particularly when there is money to be made.
“Just last week, Moshe Rabbenu put out a call for everyone to come and donate their gold and silver to build a mishkan, another ‘new’ practice that he’s introducing to enrich himself and enslave the Jewish people into more nonsense and superstition.”
“Yeah, right on man!” Datan said to himself.
I mean really, things were getting completely out of control with this new religion that Moshe Rabbenu was trying to foister on the Jews.
He, Datan, didn’t need a rabbi to tell him how to serve Hashem! He didn’t need an intermediary to tell him how to act, and how to think! This was complete idol worship, just like xtianity!!! Why couldn’t other people understand that?
Just then Datan’s wife came into the room and asked him if he could help her schlep the shopping from the car. She’d been caught in the crazy hailstorm and was clearly a bit shaken up. “Not now, I’m busy,” Datan waved her away.
“There’s some crazy cult leader trying to mislead the Jewish people, and I have to go and save them.”
Datan’s wife bit her lip, and retreated back to the kitchen.
A message popped up on Datan’s i-Phone that Korach had just put out a new tube video, called ‘The Truth about Moshe Rabbenu’.
Now, this was more like it! You could always rely on Korach to call out all the ‘bad’ and the craziness going on in the Jewish world! Datan pressed play, and settled back, hands on his head, to see how Korach was going to make mincemeat of this guy and his faction.
“Their main speaker today, the most popular, Aaron HaKohen, says in his speeches that you can't connect to HaShem without connecting first to Moshe Rabbenu, and he is the only one that can connect you to HaShem!
“Without him nothing will help you, not your teshuva, not your learning Torah nothing! Only Moshe Rabbenu can save you and get you out of galut. This is similar to J.c in Christianity! If this is not Avoda Zara, then what is??”
Right on, man! If his neighbors hadn’t been so brainwashed by Moshe Rabbenu, they’d see all this stuff clearly for themselves, too.
Just then, night descended and the 'luxury Light' of the i-Phone went blank.
The plague of darkness had begun.
 As explained HERE: “Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani quotes Rabbi Yonatan as teaching, based on Sefer Tehillim (106:16) that Moshe was accused of adultery. In fact, Rabbi Shmuel bar Yitzhak taught that when Moshe set up a tent – Ohel Mo’ed – outside of the encampment (see Shemot 33:7), the entire nation began to suspect him of committing adultery with their wives.
“The Ri’af explains this simply, that when any member of the community had an issue to discuss, they would turn to Moshe who was in his tent outside of the camp. It is clear that women as well as men would turn to Moshe for direction, and this led to suspicion. The Torah, however, dispels any such claim by emphasizing that Yehoshua, Moshe’s protégé, never left the tent (see Shemot 33:11).
“The Margoliyot ha-Yam notes that the Ohel Mo’ed was set up outside the camp immediately after the Sin of the Golden Calf, when the women refused to hand over their gold jewelry to build the calf. This led their husbands to suspect that they listened to Moshe more than to their own husbands.”
 See the Gemara, Chullin 7b: (R. Chama bar Chanina): Hash-m does the will of Tzadikim after their death more than in their lifetime. (Or to put it another way, Tzaddikim are greater after their death than during their lives.)
Also see the Gemara, Taanit 5b, which records the following exchange between Rav Nachman and Rav Yitzchak:
Rav Nachman said to Rav Yitzchak: "So said Rabbi Jochanan: Our father Jacob did not die."
Asked Rav Yitzchak: "Was it for no reason that the eulogizers eulogized, the embalmers embalmed and the buriers buried?"
Responded Rav Nachman: "I am only citing a verse. It is written, 'And you, my servant Jacob, fear not, says the L-rd, and do not tremble, O Israel. For behold, I shall save you from afar, and your descendants from the land of their captivity' (Jeremiah 30:10). The verse equates Jacob with his descendants: just as his descendants are alive, he, too, is alive."
If you look carefully, you’ll see that whatever all the self-righteous people on the internet (and elsewhere…) are criticizing other people about so vociferously is what they themselves have the biggest problem with.
(And yes, this certainly also applies to me.)
This is because the whole world is a mirror, and God is using all of the annoying, ucky people out there to give us a message about what we ourselves need to work on, acknowledge, identify and fix.
How do you know which trait is particularly your problem? It’s the one that gets the biggest reaction, or rise out of you. When someone accuses me of being stingy, for example, or of believing in martians, I barely lift an eyebrow.
Because that’s so not my problem.
But when someone accuses me of talking lashon hara and of being judgmental, I still get upset.
Because they are usually right, and God wants me to go and deal with that.
Let’s take an example of how this phenomenon can play out in the world. Let’s say, someone spends an awful lot of time knocking other Jews for not being ‘real’, or accusing them of being evil ‘erev rav’ types, or accusing them of hanging out with groups that aren’t ‘Jewish’ enough for that person, or aren’t ‘orthodox’ enough for that person, or perhaps, who are too ‘orthodox’ (or what they would term ‘extremist and fanatical’).
If you go and do some digging, you will probably discover:
Or, let’s take another example a little closer to home. Let’s say you’re dealing with a married couple who only sees the ‘bad’ in the other person, and believes themselves to be an innocent victim in the whole mess their marriage has gotten into.
This is a very common problem – but the mirror principle applies even more in a marriage!
I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve sadly had to hear where MRS is telling me how awful MR’s family are, when her own family is just as bad and ucky, in their own way. Or, where MR is moaning on about how selfish and heartless MRS is, when he’s been acting callously and recklessly for years’ already.
How different so much of the picture would be, if we would all stop blaming everyone else for our problems, and recognize that God is simply showing us ourselves, reflected back in all the ucky people who bother us.
Me personally, I get so riled up when people slag off whole section of the Jewish people publicly, and speak evilly of our holy rabbis.
Because in the past I also used to do this a lot, and clearly, I still have some of that issue myself. Now, God is now getting me to knuckle down and to work on it properly by showing me just how horrible and divisive it is.
The more work I do on this, the less all the ‘frum’ psychos on the internet are starting to spoil my morning. (Although let’s be clear, it’s probably going to be a ‘live’ issue for a good few years still.)
Again, the more ‘abusive’ tendencies we have ourselves, the more we will go on about other people’s ‘abuses’. The more ‘erev rav’ traits we have ourselves, the more we will call other people ‘erev rav’. The shakier our own faith actually is, the more we will call into question other people’s commitment to yiddishkeit and God. The more we are worshipping ourselves and our own ego, the more we will accuse others of 'idol worship'.
That’s why the truly nice people out there don’t say horrible things about others, and don’t write ‘controversial’ or knocking blog posts. (Yes, believe me I know I’m not in this category).
The more unhinged you yourself are, the more you hate yourself, the more you'll be out there criticizing others and pointing out everyone else's flaws.
This is the mirror rule.
This is how God is running the world.
And it applies to us all.
When my dad was here a few weeks ago, we got into a bit of an argument sparked off by an ‘internet personality’ rabbi who happens to be a baal teshuva, and who has made a name for himself by having a go at anything and anyone in the Jewish world that he doesn’t agree with.
This ‘rabbi’ has crossed so many lines, halachically, in his personal attacks on others, and in his attacks on many different branches of Judaism, and particularly chassidut, that are clearly coming from a place of complete ignorance.
Rather than have a bit of humility and admit he doesn’t know everything about yiddishkeit, he prefers to spout off long screeds full of sinat chinam and lashon hara, and to try to sow strife and to turn Jew against Jew – and then whenever he’s challenged on what’s he’s said, he claims to have been misunderstood, misrepresented, or taken out of context.
But that’s a lie.
What he’s saying is very clear.
It’s a typical gaslighting technique to tell other people they didn’t really hear what they heard, or that they didn’t understand something in the right way, when they obviously did, and sadly, this ‘rabbi’ is an expert gaslighter.
So now, my dear dad decided to email this ‘rabbi’ directly with the following question, and here’s how he responded (I’m blanking out the name, to avoid unnecessary machloket while still addressing the fundamental point and problem):
THE EMAIL MY DAD SENT:
Shalom aleichem Rabbi [NAME].
Hope you are fully recovered from your journey.
Could you please clarify the following. I told my daughter and son in law that according to you from your lectures that the Breslav worship "AvodaZara" and is a cult religion.
They dispute that it is not true. They want to know on what basis and proof do you draw your conclusions. Can you please name Gedolim who support your opinion.
Toda rabba vekol tuv
THE EMAIL THE ‘RABBI’ SENT BACK:
Their main speaker today (the most popular) rabbi shalom harsh says in his searches that you can't connect to HaShem without connecting first to rabbi Nachman, and he is the only one that can connect you to HaShem.
Without him nothing will help you not your teshuva not your learning torah nothing only rabbi Nachman can save you.
Similar to J.c in Christianity
If this is not a Voda Zara what is??
My dad sent this email to me, to see what I thought, and so this is what I think. First, this is what I sent back to my dad:
MY EMAIL TO MY DAD:
Thanks for this Dad.
You asked Rabbi [NAME] for Gedolim who support his opinion, and he just gave you more of his opinion. Who are the Gedolim who agree with him? Surely if it's that clear cut, there must be some big names that agree with him that he can quote in support. Can you please go back and ask him for other Gedolim who are saying this?
Also, see this explanation by Rav Ofer Erez of the whole idea of hitkashrut to the tzaddikim, which is explicitly explained by the Arizal as a good thing, (amongst other very big rabbis).
Rabbi [NAME] is sadly not a very knowledgeable person, which is why he attacks a lot of what he doesn't understand about the deeper aspects of yiddishkeit. Xtians got the idea of binding to the tzaddik from Judaism, and we need to reclaim it. The same thing happened with the idea of moshiach - the xtians 'took' that idea and then Jews shunned it for centuries. But really, it's the basis of OUR religion and the geula, and we need to understand the concepts properly, in their original Jewish context.
MY DAD IS GOING TO BE WAITING FOR THOSE TORAH SOURCES AND NAMES OF GEDOLIM A REALLY LONG TIME...
Let’s be clear, Rabbi [NAME] is not going to come back with any names of Gedolim who support his opinion, because Gedolim actually know the deeper aspects of the Torah, and understand what’s going on here, and why.
If you watch Rav Ofer’s clip (it’s only 2 mins or so, and it has English subtitles) he explains that the Arizal brings down in his book Shaarei HaKavanot that we should formally bind ourselves to the tzaddikim three times a day.
All the big kabbalists are binding themselves to the true tzaddikim, including Rebbe Nachman, three times a day.
Does this make them ‘xtians’, or idol-worshipers?
Rav Ofer also explains that the Rahash – who is considered to be the ‘Shulchan Aruch’ in terms of kabbalistic practices and kavanot, and is universally accepted as the last word in these matters, states that the halacha is to bind ourselves three times a day to the Tzaddikim.
He also explains that the Ben Ish Hai (not a Breslover, last I checked….) stated that all the words of the Arizal should be considered as though they were said by the Divine presence itself.
So Rabbi [NAME] is basically arguing against the Arizal, the Rahash, the Ben Ish Hai and all the Jewish people’s leading kabbalists.
For sure, he doesn’t even know that, because as I told my dad, Rabbi [NAME] has made a big reputation for himself online by attacking other Jews. Sometimes, we applaud his attacks and think ‘good, someone had to say that!!’ when it comes to the more clear-cut subjects. And then we think that he must be coming from a good place…
As Rabbi Nachman explains in his tale of The Cripple, ‘the talkers’ at the end of days are the ones who go around taking each other out with all their vituperative attacks on other Jews, and this is what paves the way for Moshiach to come.
Rabbi Nachman makes clear that the only people who talk negatively like this, with a shameless disregard for halacha and Torah law, are actually powered by demonic forces who are working night and day to prevent the Moshiach from coming.
When someone has a taste for lashon hara, and for sinat chinam, and for seeing their fellow Jew with an evil eye, and for trying to stoke conflict between Jews, they are always on the look-out for fresh ‘controversies’ that are easy to ignite. And Breslev is an easy target, especially for ignorant and arrogant people who think they know everything, when clearly, they really don’t.
For sure, Rabbi [NAME] has zero interest in really learning the deeper Jewish sources behind the practice of binding to the true Tzaddikim. For sure, he’s going to either try to evade the issue by ignoring my dad’s email completely, or coming back with more of his ‘opinion’ as opposed to any solid Jewish sources or Gedolim who actually support his position.
And this is how these fake, ‘rockstar’ rabbis manage to fool so many Jews that they are the real deal, while all the time they are leading them further away from Hashem and causing huge problems for the Jewish people.
Again, to make this point crystal clear: when a rabbi is ‘fake’, they don’t refer to Gedolim who agree with their controversial positions (because the Gedolim don’t…) and they don’t have a real grasp of halacha, which is why they fall back on their own over-sized personalities and superficial arguments that sound correct to the uneducated masses, but really aren’t.
(Can you imagine what sort of trouble this 'rabbi' could be sparking off between me and my dad right now with his comments, if I hadn't spent years researching how these people operate?)
Let the world of lies fall soon!
And in the meantime, give fakers like Rabbi [NAME] a wide berth. God makes it very clear that He can’t dwell with an arrogant person, and if God isn’t the one who’s powering all of these ‘conversations’ and blog posts and ‘Torah’ lessons, you know who else has stepped into the vacuum to provide the script.
UPDATE: Here's a small selection of the literally hundreds of quotes and stories out there from leading rabbis and rebbes of the last 200 years, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, Chassidic and Litvak, who had only the highest praise for Rebbe Nachman and Breslov chassidut.
Were all these enormous tzaddikim wrong, or somehow didn't understand that Breslov was meant to be some idol-worshiping cult? Was Rav Ovadia Yosef z'tl, the undisputed halachic authority of our generation, somehow misled, when he appeared with Rav Berland in public on two seperate occasions, that Rav Berland was really worshipping idols?
I mean, seriously? We're expected to take the opinion of the slander-spreading, strife-mongering Rabbi [NAME] (who I checked out very thoroughly now, and guess what? He doesn't even have smicha! He's a self-appointed 'rabbi' who spent a few years reading some gemara in Monsey and now he thinks he knows everything) - over the words of some of the biggest sages that ever lived?!
How can anyone with even half a brain cell begin to suggest such a thing? Oy, what a lowly generation we live in. Here are the quotes:
Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, author of "Chazon Ish" called Rebbe Nachman: "The light of lights of truth..." Rav Ben Tzion Apter said that here and there the Chazon Ish would speak to him about the strength and greatness of Rebbe Nachman and each time would say "tell over a teaching of the Rebbe."
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, the Admor from Ger, after finishing up the Seder on Pesach eve would learn from Likutey Moharan. Rabbi Aharon of Belz: "The level of this book (Likutey Moharan) is indeed very great...Breslover Chassidim are sincere Jews."
Rabbi Yitchak Gelbach was a student of the great Rav Elchonon Wasserman (a student of the Chofetz Chaim) and said that Rav Elchonon used to push his students to draw close to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Rabbi Elya Lopian on Rebbe Nachman's books: "These are real books of ethics."
Rabbi Eliyahu Klatzkin of Lublin: "Any praise you praise Rebbe Nachman with is just the tip (of his full praise) because Rebbe Nachman’s level of wisdom is very high and limitless."
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, author of "Michtav M'Eliyahu", quotes from Rebbe Nachman in his books. In a letter to his children, he encouraged them to learn Breslov works in order to merit fear of Heaven.
Rabbi Eliezer Shulevitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Lomza: "Whoever is searching out the truth, eventually reaches Breslov".
Rabbi David Widenfeld, the Gaon of Tschebin: "Rebbe Nachman was the most brilliant of the Rebbe's".
The Admor, author of "Tzemach Tzedek": "By my father (Rabbi Chaim of Kosov, author of "Torat Chaim") the book Likutey Moharan never left the table."
Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir: "Through (learning) Likutey Moharan, the mind is opened." He also said "We work on trying to solve problems (in scripture) and they (Breslover Chassidim) work constantly on 'fear Hashem and love Him all your days.'"
Rabbi Elazar Shapiro of Munkatch, author of "Minchat Elazar": "When the whole world begins to be concerned with and learn 'Sipurey Ma'asiot' (Rebbe Nachman's Stories) - Mashiach will come." He requested that "Hishtapchut HaNefesh (Outpouring of the soul)" be constantly printed.
Rabbi Chaim Meir Hager of Viznitz, author of "Imrei Chaim", said that the book, Likutey Moharan, never left his table. Additionally, he said "this book (Sipurey Ma'asiot) belongs to the Kabbalah."
Rabbi Yehuda Leib, the Sfat Emet, on his death bed requested that 'Sippurey Ma'asiot' be read to him. He then said that the last story hints at the Geulah.
Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum of Satmar: "Rebbe Nachman saw in a vision all the problems this generation would encounter with faith...these days, one cannot be strenghted if not by these books because in them you find real faith." He also said: "You cannot be sincerely Jewish without learning the books of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov." & "The author of Likutey Moharan was completely pure and therefore existed by him the concept of 'and Yosef's brothers were jealous of him'." & "We can see that Rebbe Nachman has more holy presence (resting on him) than other Tzaddikim." Once on Shabbat, he said: " Who can strenghten us?! Rebbe Nachman can strengthen us in such a situation!"
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak, the Chozeh of Lublin: "Rebbe Nachman is the great light...a holy man...miracle worker of the generation." About Likutey Moharan: "Likutey Moharan speaks for itself...the words are true and straight. They don't need approval from anyone else."
Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, the Steipler Gaon: "This book (Likutey Moharan) stirs me to fear of Heaven. And, I see that if there is a day that I don't learn this book, I feel lacking in Heavenly fear."
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger, author of "Chidushei HaRim", took 'Sippurey Ma'asiot' and studied it until he got to the story of 'The Seven Beggars', when he said "until this point, I understood something. From here on - I don't know anything anymore."
Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzera: "The praised Tzaddikim will take out the Shechina from exile." The 'Baba Sali' also said that his son, Rabbi Meir Abuchatzera, appeared to him in a dream and said to his father: "all the Tzaddikim, here in Heaven, go to hear lessons from Rebbe Nachman."
Rabbi Meir Abuchatzera regularly had books of Rebbe Nachman on his desk. One time he gave his daughter 'Likutey Etzot' (Advice) and said: "Whenever you need advice with anything, look in this book."
Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh Malik, student of the great Maggid: "I investigated him and I did not find any (reason for) disagreement...according to my findings, we all have to be embarassed before him . To say "and he is wiser than all men" is not even the whole praise to say about him."
Rabbi Shalom Moskowitz of Shatz: "Every word which Rebbe Nachman uttered is the deepest of the deep...full of wisdom, ethics, wonderful and awesome advice for a person to fulfill his purpose in the world."
Rabbi Shlomo Mazvil told over that his saintly father came to him in a dream and said to him: "In the upper world, when a Breslover Chassid arrives - there is a huge uproar. They are very viewed with great importance..." He requested that his granddaughter be matched up with a Breslover Chassid.
See more here: http://www.breslev-midot.com/eng/hillulat_moharahn_2005.asp
Before I started researching all the Rav Berland stuff, I actually spent about five years deeply immersed in researching personality disorders, and Erev Rav traits. The fruits of those labors were distilled into Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav, which you can learn more about that HERE, but it’s interesting to see the intersection that’s now occurring between the information I learned at that stage, and the information I’m learning now.
When people have a severe mental and / or emotional disorder, there’s always a few key traits present, or absent.
Top of the ‘absent’ list is empathy and compassion for others.
When people have a personality disorder, they simply can’t put anyone else in the picture and it’s all about them: their ego, their status, their opinion, their control of others, their self-image, their success, their need to be right.
Also on the ‘absent’ list is a marked inability to apologise to other people for their hurtful behavior and comments.
Over on the ‘present’ list, the key thing that tips you off that you’re dealing with someone with a mental disorder is when they can’t process or accept new information, and they desperately cling on to their old story, their old idea, their old certainty of ‘how things really are’.
When I start to hear the same story, the same comment, the same insults, even, for the fifth time in a row, there is no longer any doubt that I’m dealing with someone who is a ‘rigid thinker’, which is psychiatric code for ‘severely mentally disturbed’.
Again, this is a function of trauma, and it’s learned behavior that could, at least in theory, be ‘unlearned’ if more people really understood how their body, minds and soul actually work together. (I write about this subject a lot over on spiritualselfhelp.org. THIS is a good place to start, if you’d like to know more about this.)
But the point is this: When you’re dealing with ‘rigid thinkers’ with extremely fragile personalities, the truth is never going to be enough to change their minds.
Because ‘rigid thinkers’ can’t change their minds – about anything.
When we talk about ‘closed-minded’ and ‘narrow-minded’, it’s actually a literal description of what’s going on. The traumatized mind is closed, and cannot accept any new information.
In the deeper Jewish sources, this is referred to as mochin dekatnut, or ‘small-brained’. The person’s psyche is so stunted by trauma, so collapsed in upon itself, so consumed by its own paranoid vision of the world, that there is literally no space to put any new information.
A big part of the problem with rigid thinkers is that most of them feel literally sick about the idea that they could be ‘wrong’ about anything. This usually stems from the poor parenting they received, which is a whole book (or six…) unto itself, but this is how it plays out in real time:
The ‘rigid thinker’ is presented with some new information that would mean they’d have to change their position / attitude, possibly admit they were wrong, possibly have to apologise for doing or saying things that were ‘bad’.
This possibility causes their stomach to literally plummet into their shoes, and they become filled up with a disgusting ‘sick’ feeling that paralyses them, physically, and literally makes them feel like their soul is being shredded to pieces.
This feeling is one of the worst feelings in the world.
The rigid thinker’s main – and really only – priority at this stage is to get this ‘sick’ feeling to go away as quickly as possible. There are two ways they typically do that:
In a nutshell, the poor rigid thinker is simply trying to offload their own ‘ucky’ feeling off on to someone else. And the worse they feel about themselves, the bigger the ‘uck’ payload they manage to pack into their verbal attacks on others.
Often, you’ll get some combo approach, where they will begin with rubbishing and denying the information you are trying to present them with, but if you persist in shoving the truth in their faces, they will then get really angry, and fall back on trying to destroy you, as a person.
THAT'S WHY YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE 'ANTI' RAV BERLAND
Lucky for me that I learned all this before I even started writing One in a Generation, because it makes it so much easier to understand the otherwise bizarre responses of so many of the rigid thinkers out there.
There’s enough real information circulating around now, on this blog and other places, about who’s really behind the persecution of Rav Berland, that any balanced individual should at least be pausing for thought, and feeling confused about where the truth actually lies, before rushing into the fray to publicly condemn him.
As I’ve said many times already, at this stage of the game no-one else can tell you the truth about Rav Berland – or about any of the other millions of things that we’re being lied to about.
That’s the test of our generation.
God wants each of us to go ‘inside’, and to connect to our souls, and to connect our souls back to Him, and that’s the only way we’re really going to have clarity about anything today.
So confusion and lack of clarity is a valid, normal response at this stage.
But what is completely abnormal (for mentally stable individuals) is to up the offensive by adding even more lies on to the old ones, and to keep refusing to acknowledge obvious facts and information that could potentially change the whole picture, and to resort to personal attacks on people who are telling you things you don’t want to hear.
But this is exactly how people with personality disorders and very fragile egos react. And this is exactly how ‘rigid thinkers’ react.
And there is nothing that anyone from the outside can do to change these people’s minds, because they are literally crazy.
CRAZY PEOPLE ALWAYS SUPPORT OTHER CRAZY PEOPLE
Something else I learned a long time ago is that ‘narcissists of a feather flock together’, because rigid thinkers seek out other rigid thinkers who will enable them to maintain their unchanging world view.
Mentally-stagnant and mentally-renewed people just don’t jive together, because the new learning and the new information that so invigorates the one threatens the other. This is also why rigid thinkers try to shut down the sources of any new, and threatening, information with denial, deceit and personal attacks.
So what does this mean practically? Rav Berland has already set it all out on his site. Here’s what he’s been telling us the last couple of years:
Because I still have a lot of work to do on my own bad middot, it’s actually getting kind of fun seeing which ‘big names’ are so publicly putting themselves on the wrong side of the equation.
At some point soon, we will reach that point when the world of lies will fall, and the truth will shine out.
And then, it’s going to get really interesting.
UPDATE: THE LAWS OF SPEAKING LASHON HARA L'TOELET
Following on from one of the comments below, I just wanted to share the 7 rules that apply to speaking lashon hara l'toelet, for a positive purpose. Again, lashon hara is TRUE information that happens to be negative. Slander is falsehood and lies. All the stories about Rav Berland are slander.
Just to be clear, the following rules don't apply to sharing things around on Facebook - with your own big, juicy, slanderous opinion attached - that you read on Ynet or Ha'aretz. You have to have witnessed or heard the 'story' you're re-telling FIRST-HAND, even when speaking lashon hara for a constructive purpose.
These rules apply to everyone, including and especially 'rabbis'.
When dealing with negative information that is TRUE, you must still follow the following 7 rules before sharing it l'toelet, for a positive reason, such as warning someone away from a bad influence. (See more HERE):
Saying Lashon Harah is only permitted when said for strictly constructive purposes. Even then, however, one is required to ensure what he is saying meets a criterion of seven conditions:
Yesterday, I dropped my parents off at the airport, then drove out towards the Palmachim beach, near Rishon LeTzion. I didn’t get there in the end, because I got sidetracked by something called ‘the mouth of the stream’, which ended up being a nice walk next to a (kind of…) river.
In the UK, it would be classed more as a long puddle, but here in Israel, any body of water, no matter how shallow or stagnant or brown, is a ‘river’.
So I walked next to it, found a big tree to sit under somewhere close and pondered what’s actually going on in my life. Because the truth is, I was having a very strong ‘give up’ vibe again.
I was having that urge to delete my blog again, but this time permanently.
Because I’ve spent the last few weeks up to my neck in lashon hara and sinat chinam, as I’ve been researching the media side of things for the book, and I discovered that things are far, far worse in the orthodox blogosphere than I imagined.
I barely read Jewish blogs today, that’s the truth, except for my Breslov rabbis, and shirat devorah. The other stuff out there is usually just some form of having a go, some form of awful sinat chinam dressed up in holier-than-thou clothing, some form of arrogant and ignorant lashon hara – and clearly, I’m talking about the better sites.
And then, I realized that I’ve also been pulled into more of that than I would like recently, as a result of trying to set the record straight about the Rav and a few other things.
So as I sat under that tree yesterday, I really wondered why I’m doing all this. Anyone who really wants to know the ‘truth’ – about anything – will ask God to show them, and will get some real answers. Anyone who really doesn’t want to know the ‘truth’ – about anything – won’t.
It really is as simple as that.
The last few months, I’ve had emails from so many holier-than-thou psychos who really feel that Ha’aretz – the mouthpiece of the Meretz Party in Israel – should be believed over our holy rabbis.
I’m sick of arguing with these people. I’m sick of dealing with their breathtakingly bad middot and hypocrisy. I’m sick of all the fake ‘rabbis’ and fake ‘prophets of doom’ out there who are simply breaking hundreds of very important laws pertaining to lashon hara and onaas devarim (and millions of other things, besides) with every single Youtube video they record, or ‘message’ they pen.
But pointing all this out, and trying to battle against them, is simply just pulling me down into the same muck.
And that’s not really why I started Emunaroma.
So I sat under that tree yesterday, and the voice whispered at me quite intently: Give up! Do something else! Go back to painting, go back to trying to make stuff with your sewing machine, why do you need to spend so much of your time agonizing over all the mentally-ill orthodox Jewish psychos on the web?
So yesterday, I wrote a short post explaining all this stuff, and basically saying sayonara, at least for a while.
And then today, as I came to post it up, I found this video (in English) in my email from someone I don’t know, that actually really spoke to me. (Shirat eynayim friendly up until minute 3.36, when a couple of ladies pop up).
Don’t give up!
That’s the message.
With so many marriages exploding around me, I’ve been learning some things that I never knew before. One thing I learned this week is that in this olam hafuch, there are apparently a lot of women in Israel who are refusing to take a get from their husband.
Yes, you read that right.
The way the law is set up here, the courts come down really, really heavily on ‘get-refusing’ husbands, and basically treat them as criminals. Like you, I initially thought this was an amazing thing! I campaigned on behalf of a young aguna in London, whose ex was trying to extort millions of pounds out of her wealthy family. It took a good few years of communal pressure (plus a couple of million pounds still…) but in the end he gave the get.
So I was thrilled to hear things are different in Israel. Another aguna I knew was stuck get-less for over 20 years. Then her daughter got married in Israel, the dad flew in for the wedding, and on the way out of Ben Gurion he was arrested and jailed until he gave the get. It took two days!
So that was amazing.
But now, I’ve been hearing more and more stories of how things are being taken to a very unhealthy extreme the other way, with men being forced to cede all of their financial rights, and all of their custody requests, before the women will accept the get the men are trying to give them.
Because as long as the women can tell the court that the man hasn’t given them a get, the court can and does impose a number of punitive measures against him until this situation changes.
Again, if the man is refusing to give a get straight up, as ‘punishment’ or ‘vengeance’ – then punitive action against him is usually the right course of action to take, on many levels.
But, if the woman is refusing to accept the get solely in order that she can dictate all the terms of the divorce without having to take the husband’s feelings and needs into account?
This doesn’t seem right to me.
I heard of one case where a woman refused her get three times, until the husband agreed to cede 100% of the house to her – and to keep paying the mortgage on it.
I know kids should be taken care of as much as possible, I really do. But I can’t help but think that if providing the kids with a home is such an over-arching imperative, why are people so quick to rush for a divorce in the first place? Don't they know that getting divorced is going to cause everybody - including them - huge financial challenges?
Getting divorced doesn’t add more money to the pot, doesn’t make it easier to pay the bills. Now there are two households to run instead of one, and while the husbands definitely do owe the wife something – as per halacha – I’m getting increasingly turned-off by people who initiate a divorce whilst continuing to have completely unrealistic expectations of the high standard of living their ex-husbands apparently ‘owe’ them for choosing to give up on their marriage.
If the man was unfaithful, if he was physically violent, or terribly, destructively abusive, or a compulsive gambler, or a dangerous drug addict, then it goes without saying that the circumstances are very different from what I'm describing here, and the divorcing wife needs as much support and help as possible.
But here's the thing: I’ve seen women in those circumstances, and when they get divorced they are so grateful to be free of danger their husbands pose to them and their children, getting money out of their ex tends to be the last thing on their minds.
The sort of divorces I'm talking about don't involve any 'abnormal' mental illness or abuse (because let's be honest, we're all crazy today, and none of us treat other people the way we really should). Really, it's more the case that the wife just doesn't want to deal with the challenge of being married to a difficult, unrectified person anymore, but she still wants full access to his pay packet.
Here's the thing: men are also people.
Unless they fit the description three paragraphs back, they should also be treated with a little compassion. It’s hard enough bringing home the money when you have a home and a family to support you. When you’re working just as hard to pay the mortgage on the house you used to own while you slum it in a rented bed-sit, that can’t be an easy thing at all.
I know divorce is super-complicated, and it’s almost never black and white. But again, why are so many people believing the lies they are being told that divorce is the easy option, and the solution to all their problems, and easier than staying in a difficult marriage?
If a man was dodging his responsibility to pay the bills when you were married to him, how is divorcing him going to change that? If he couldn’t get you a nice house when you were married to him, how is he going to do that as your ex? If he didn’t ‘get help’ for all his mental issues and emotional problems – all of which will manifest themselves in your kids, if they aren’t properly sorted out – when you were married, why should he do that know you’re divorced?
All of us are so messed up today, that every single couple probably has good grounds for divorce, if the point of staying married is to enjoy yourself and have a lot of money.
But the Torah doesn’t say anywhere that this is what marriage is meant to be about.
The Torah view of marriage is that it’s a way of rectifying the world as you work on yourself, and your own issues and problems that your spouse is simply reflecting back at you.
As usual, the ones who suffer the most from this madness are the children.
MARRIAGE IS WORK
I’ve been married 20 years now, and me and my husband have been through our fair share of ups and downs. I’ve had so many internal demons to try to face down, he couldn’t work for two years, we no longer own our own house, we’ve had countless trials and tribulations that put a big strain on our relationship.
We both dealt with all this stuff by upping our hitbodedut and trying to work on our emuna that everything that has happened is just coming from God, and is coming to rectify something. Sure, I could have blamed him for everything, he could have blamed me for everything - but that's the anti-emuna approach.
The emuna approach is to accept that we are both flawed, we both need a lot of fixing, and that underneath it all, we're both actually really nice people. Our job is to pray, get God involved in overcoming our challenges, and to try to see the good as much as possible in each other and in our lives, and to take nothing for granted.
Right now, I don’t work (for money…) so my husband is paying for everything.
Right now, I am so grateful to my husband that he goes out every single day and makes a living for me and my children. That he puts a roof over my head, and food on the table, and lets me do whatever it is I do (for no money…). My husband signed the ketuba with minimal requirements to look after me materially, so this is his responsibility, I know.
But I am still so grateful to him for all the effort he’s making on my behalf, because earning a living today is incredibly stressful and hard. My husband doesn’t ‘owe’ me my own home. He doesn’t ‘owe’ me thousands of shekels every month in spending money. He doesn’t ‘owe’ me a cleaner, a car, nice holidays.
And we’re still actually married.
And for his part, every time my husband finds a clean pair of socks in his drawer, he's grateful. (Full disclosure: doing the washing on time is not always so easy for me ;-)
So you want to get divorced, that’s up to you. But then take responsibility for what your choice is going to do to both your finances and your family and your standard of living. Don’t just view your ex-husband as some sort of ATM that ‘owes’ you stuff, and rejoice in how low you can bring him so that he’s walking around in shabby shoes and lives in a 25 sqm dump of a room.
He’s also suffering. He’s lost everything – his wife, his family, his home and his self-esteem. For the sake of your kids, you need to work with your ex to ensure he also still has some hope and some joy in life, and also, at least a little of the money that he’s working so hard to bring home.
Otherwise, your divorce won’t be the answer to your prayers and the big ‘solution’ you think it is, even if you do manage to walk away with all the money. It’ll just be a gateway to years of bitterness, hatred, anger and suffering.
And as always, it’s the kids who will suffer the most.
God-forbid, I'm not trying to be needlessly controversial by writing this piece. Simply, I can see there is a lot of hypocrisy going on in the frum Jewish community where women are loudly banging the 'equality' drum on the one hand and demanding equal rights, but still expecting the man to pick up all the debts and financial responsibility when it comes to divorce.
The men themselves aren't allowed to point out the inconsistencies that are abounding all over the place without being called 'misogynist', so I'm simply trying to point out that when any party in a divorce ceases to view the other person as a human being, and ceases to have a minimal amount of compassion for them, this is a reflection of bad middot, and will only cause unnecessary suffering and damage to the family over the long run.
No-one should be trying to force their terms unilaterally on the other party in a divorce.
Divorcing couples need to talk to each other and take the other person's viewpoint into account. If they do that, maybe some good can be salvaged from the divorce, and the destruction and hurt will be minimised.
But if you take one message away from this post, let it be this: DIVORCE IS NOT THE EASY OPTION. Sometimes, it's still the necessary thing to do, but in most situations, it's only going to make a challenging set of circumstances even worse.
I just got sent this nice, short (8 min) video about Rav Dov Kook, which is a nice intro for readers who may not be so familiar with this Tzaddik of Tiveria.
While all this stuff with Rav Berland was going on, lots of people wanted to know why more rabbis weren’t coming out publicly in support of him.
While a very small percentage of rabbis were themselves taken in by the lies and slanders they were hearing, many of our true rabbis stayed quiet for a different reason: They knew that if they started trying to defend the Rav and pointing out the evil people behind this whole, terrible miscarriage of justice, they would be the next ones with their heads on the chopping block.
At the height of the persecution and slander of Rav Berland, around two years’ ago, some of his supporters tried to rally the generation’s leading Rabbis to begin publishing letters of support for the Rav, to try and redress the balance and inform the public about what was really happening.
One Rav who was asked to participate responded,
“They [the people who are persecuting Rav Berland] are Erev Rav, and it’s forbidden to get involved with them, or give them any strength or attention. If I come out against them, then tomorrow they will turn on me, and they will also start telling lies about me, too.”
This same concern was heard many, many times from other leading Rabbis in Israel.
In the clip that Rav Glazerson released three years’ ago called: ‘The appearance of Rav Eliezer Berland in Torah codes,” Rav Glazerson showed how the words “Eliezer Berland Tzaddik” appeared together with the words, “The arising of the Erev Rav against Judaism.”
Some notable apikorsim already came out with awful slanders against one of the Rav’s biggest defenders, Rav Chaim Dovid Stern, God forbid. Then another one of the Rav’s defenders, Rav Yitzhak Meir Morgenstern, had his synagogue demolished by the Jerusalem municipality shortly after positive statements that he’d made in defense of Rav Berland were publicized.
A couple of years’ ago, another very famous rabbi asked his son to contact me here, on Emunaroma, to take down a statement he’d made defending Rav Berland because he was scared of reprisals against him and his yeshiva.
And now, it seems to be the turn of the kabbalist and tzaddik Rav Dov Kook of Tiveria, God forbid.
Rav Kook warned his students before Shabbat that the Israeli media are planning a ‘blood libel’ against him, probably beginning this coming week, and he asked his followers to pray for him.
Dear readers, I’m asking you to please pay attention to the awful character assassination that is about to begin, and to work with me to expose how these erev rav types who just love to spread false gossip and rumours around, especially about the gedolei hador, really work.
I don’t have details of what they have cooked up against Rav Kook yet, but for sure it will be the same sort of unprovable stories, false witnesses, lurid headlines and scandalous lies that they have used to great effect against Rav Berland.
The media – sadly, including the so-called ‘chareidi’ media – starts all this stuff off to boost their ratings and get their audience to turn against the true leaders of the nation. Then, regular people who are either gullible and naïve, or who actually just love to gossip and to stir things up get involved, and start carpeting the internet with all this ‘fake news’ and slanderous lies, making out like it’s actually true because everyone is talking about it.
This is so, so contrary to how observant Jews are meant to deal with rumors and gossip, and I highly recommend you brush up on the laws of lashon hara before this next round of slander begins, so you don’t fall afoul of listening to it and believing, or spreading it further afield.
It’s such a hard test, not least because speaking lashon hara is one of the main tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with someone with pronounced erev rav traits. And so many of the people in the media, and in the Jewish blogosphere – including the so-called ‘frum’ Jewish blogosphere – sadly have a very big problem with this erev rav trait.
But don’t make their problem, your problem.
Don’t believe the lies, don’t get caught up in replying to, or posting up, scandalous comments with no factual basis, don’t visit blog sites and news sites where you’re being fed fake news and lashon hara 24/7, don’t give credence or respect to those journalists and bloggers who enjoy stirring up machloket against our true tzaddikim.
As time goes on, it’s becoming clearer and clearer which ‘side’ these people are really on, spiritually, and where they’re going to end up – for eternity! – if they don’t make teshuva pronto.
It’s a huge test, I know.
But I have a feeling that by turning on Rav Dov Kook, the Israeli media may have finally bitten off more than they can actually chew, and that more and more people out there will start to realise what’s really going on in this country, and with the media and the ruling elites generally, and will make some serious teshuva about believing lies they read or watched on the internet etc.
I certainly hope so.
UPDATE: Below, you'll find the Gemara's definition of an 'apikorus', or heretic. You can learn more about this definition for yourself HERE, and HERE.
A heretic may be distinguished from an apostate in that, although he holds beliefs which are contrary to currently accepted doctrines, he does not renounce his religion and often believes that he represents the true tradition.
Some identify the talmudic minim with the Judeo-Christians, others with unspecified groups who denied rabbinic authority and/or the belief in the coming of the Messiah.
In the Talmud the term apikoros refers to the *Sadducees (Kid. 66a); to those who denigrate rabbinic authority.
Kofer may be best translated as "freethinker." In Sanhedrin the kofer is identified as one who asks needling questions and points out contradictions between biblical texts (Sanh. 39a–b). The term kofer ba-ikkar in rabbinic literature refers to one who denies a basic and essential ikkar ("dogma"; on the various formulations of dogmas in Judaism see S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism (1896), 147–81). Maimonides defines a kofer ba-Torah as someone who denies either the divine inspiration of the Torah or the authority of the Oral Law and the rabbis who teach it, or one who maintains that the legislation of the Torah has been superseded (Yad, Teshuvah, 3:8)
Someone calling themselves ‘A. Zintzheim’ – because if I’ve learnt one thing about these self-righteous anti-Berland gossip mavens, it’s that they never use their real names when trying to castigate me over the internet – left a comment on THIS post saying the following:
The video you have posted here is highly misleading. If you look at the longer video from which your "fabricated" video is taken, it is clear that the audio and video are not intended to be related to each other. Indeed, part of the video is just shots of R' Berland hiding under his tallis in court. Source is here:
I have to admit, I had no idea what they were actually trying to say, given that the post on the Channel Two site is entitled: הווידוי של ברלנד: "אנסתי אותה" – “Video of [Rav] Berland: I r**** her!”
So I went back to them asking them for clarification, and I got this back:
Your attempt was to show the movie was a fabrication consisted of the following steps:
(I distinguish here between "audio", "video", and a "movie" - the combination of audio and video)
1. Assume that the audio (and sub-titles) in the movie corresponded to the actual video in the movie.
2. Show that the original video for the movie in question actually corresponded to a different, non-incriminating audio.
I agree with your point #2, but your assumption in point #1 is false. The movie I linked to was clearly the source for your movie, yet it is clear from watching that movie that there is not intended to be any correlation between the audio and the video tracks in the movie. Thus your movie completely fails to demonstrate any "fabrication".
Which showed me two things:
Let’s start with the faked video / audio, which I’m reposting here so you can compare and contrast the lurid claims about it with the truth. Here’s some of the headlines – that are still up on the internet – from that time (in the interests of modesty, I’m starring out words that none of us need to be reading:)
Jul 27, 2016 - Years-old footage released of newly extradited Eliezer Berland shows him explaining how he forced a married woman into s**.
Well, this says it all, doesn’t it! Read this headline from the Times of Israel and you have the whole picture. Except….first it was badly FAKED audio, and NOT a video, and everyone knows that faking audio (especially as badly as this was faked) is ridiculously easy.
Secondly, Rav Berland was never ‘extradited’ from South Africa, he made a voluntary agreement to return to Israel to clear his name. Third of all, even the faked audio doesn’t actually say what these lurid headlines are claiming.
Fourthly, the Rav’s opponents never even tried to admit this ‘evidence’ into court because it was so clearly faked. In that same article, Moshe Nussbaum of Channel 2 (the same Moshe Nussbaum that Netanyahu recently said on social media lies to the Israeli people every single night) – says that:
In spite of what was heard in the Rav's recording, there is a problem in accusing the rabbi of committing rape offenses. In the framework of the request to extradite the rabbi to Israel after he was abroad, the State Attorney's Office stated that he is only responsible for offenses of indecent assault and harassment, and that the indictment must rely solely on the request for extradition. Rabbi Berland cannot be accused of rape.
Do you see how cleverly these journalists hide the truth from their readers in plain view? The Rav can’t be accused of r*** – because there is absolutely no evidence! But that’s not going to stop them running false stories and headlines claiming to have video-taped confessions.
While we’re on the subject, all the prosecution could claim (and what the Rav was forced to ‘admit’ to, in order to be released for treatment for his life-threatening cancer that subsequently required him to have a kidney and part of his colon removed) was two minor counts of ‘inappropriate touching’ and one count of sending people out to ‘assault’ the State’s Witness back in 2013, before he’d even gone public with his claims and long before his wife started telling her own fake story.
There is so much to say about how these claims were also 100% deliberately falsified by the police, the media and the Rav’s persecutors too, but you’ll have to read Volume II of One in a Generation for more details on that.
Let’s fast-forward two years, and another ‘video story’ about Rav Berland surfaces, with more breathless headlines:
Shocking Video Of Rabbi Berland Surfaces; Followers Defend It As ...
https://www.theyeshivaworld.com › Headlines & Breaking News
Feb 4, 2018 - Home Headlines & Breaking News Shocking Video Of Rabbi Berland Surfaces; Followers Defend It As 'Miraculous Healing. ... On Sunday morning a shocking video went viral on social media that depicted Rabbi Eliezer Berland conducting, what appears to be an act that goes against all the teachings of ...
Again, this says it all doesn’t it! Never mind that Klara Hammer had uncurable throat cancer which disappeared after the Rav touched her throat. That’s a small detail that must be mocked and overlooked, because the point they are trying to make is that Rav Berland is ‘committing acts that go against all the teachings of the Torah’.
(You can see the full story behind Klara Hammer’s miracle HERE).
Yeshiva news loves video stories about Rav Berland and his students. Last year, they ran this one:
SHOCKING VIDEO: Breslov Mashpia HaRav Moshe Kramer Attacked ...
https://www.theyeshivaworld.com › Headlines & Breaking News
Feb 5, 2017 - The followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland who was convicted of offenses have taken to attack his opponents. In the opening scene, a prominent Mashpia who dared to speak against Rabbi Berland was attacked violently. In the second you see followers of rabbi Berland covering their heads with Taleisim ) as ...
There was just a small problem with this story: It was all lies. When the police investigated, they discovered that the people who’d attacked Rav Kramer were involved in a monetary dispute with him, and had absolutely no connection to Shuvu Banim.
If you go and view this video yourself (below), it will become abundantly clear that apart from their misleading headlines about it, there is absolutely no link with Shuvu Banim students or Rav Berland – it’s just a video of regular, Meah Shearim chassidim.
But yeshivaworld is continuing to have this false, slanderous story up on its website anyway, because hey! What’s a little thing like the truth when it comes to slamming Shuvu Banim and Rav Berland?
Ynews also doesn’t miss any opportunity to write awful stories about the Rav, including this latest offering from a couple of weeks’ back, when the Rav went to visit the Kotel:
Rabbi Berland allowed to enter Western Wall plaza with car - Ynetnews
Apr 8, 2018 - Convicted s** offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland was allowed to enter the Western Wall plaza with his car, an honor normally reserved only to the greatest of rabbis. During the intermediate days of Passover, when the Western Wall is particularly crowded with ...
Again, the media is going all-out here to impress on you that only a selfish, awful person would visit the Kotel when it’s so crowded!! On Pesach!! In a car!! As though he was ‘the greatest of rabbis’, or something. How could the authorities let Rav Berland visit the Kotel?!?
Recently, Ha’Aretz also dipped their toe back in the ‘bashing Rav Berland’ water, by running a piece entitled:
Rav Berland’s followers have a flesh-and-blood God
The article then goes on to say that:
“Haredi society as a whole denounces Berland (even if not publicly), and most of the Bratslav rabbis came out against him harshly after a rabbinic court investigated the allegations against him and came to the conclusion that they were true.”…
Ha’aretz certainly excels in squashing a maximal amount of lies into one short sentence.
As even a casual glance at the list of rabbis who have recently and publicly come out in support of the Rav shows – including Rav David Abuchatzeira, Rav Shimon Badani, Rav Matityahu Glazerson, the Spinka Rebbe, Rav Reuven Elbaz, Rav Dov Kook, Rav Dovid Chaim Stern, to name but a few – shows, Haredi society as a whole is NOT denouncing Rav Berland at all.
Not even close.
Next, it tells us that ‘most of the Breslov rabbis came out harshly against him’ – which again is completely untrue.
There are a small core of people, centred on the Breslov shul in Meah Shearim, who have been against Rav Berland for 30 years. And the main persecutor of the Rav within Breslov, the main source for ALL of these slanderous stories about the Rav, and the person named below, belongs to that group.
"A rabbinic court investigated the allegations against him and came to the conclusion that they were true” Ha’Aretz informs us.
But again, that’s a lie. The ‘rabbinic court’ in question was made up of this group of persecutors who have been persecuting the Rav for decades, none of whom are dayanim, and which no real Breslov Rabbi would so much as touch with a bargepole. (See HERE for more info).
The email address that is given for this supposedly 'Special Beis Din' is that of the breslevemet website, a joint venture between the 'State's Witness' against the Rav, and his other main persecutor within Breslov.
Strange indeed that the Beis Din that allegedly 'came to the conclusion the allegations against the Rav were true' should share an email with the Rav's two main persecutors, and stranger still that this small detail is not something that Ha'aretz feels is at all relevant to its story, or the 'facts' it's presenting, or the credibility of its sources.
Like I said, Ha’Aretz manages to pack in a lot of lies into one short sentence, and the unwitting reader is none the wiser about just how deliberately deceitful this article actually is. Then, we get to the main man of the story, who tells us that regardless of anything you might hear - from thousands of people - to the contrary:
“even if outwardly his followers sometimes offer blanket denial, "inside they speak differently," says Rabbi [name], perhaps Berland's greatest opponent and one of his close associates before the affair broke out. "They claim that he is permitted, that he is God."
In every negative story that you read about the Rav, you will find this man either explicitly mentioned, or anonymously referred to as a ‘former student and confidant’. Someone emailed me about this story to ask if Rav Berland really believes that he’s God.
Of course he doesn’t!
There is barely a word spoken about the Rav in the media that is true or honest, and that’s especially so when you’re dealing with ‘anti-religious’ media with this individual as their only source of information.
It would be bad enough if only the secular media sites were continually lying to their readers and manipulating them in such a disgusting way, but sadly, as the following story I happened to come across recently shows, the ‘frum’ media sites are also not being run according to halacha, or anything even approaching it (I'm removing names below, to minimise the lashon hara):
Shocking, isn’t it?
Yet extortion has come out as the key motive for many of the people behind the false allegations of Rav Berland, which is why this story shouldn’t be a shock to anyone:
Civil suit against Rabbi Berland
Some of the complainants against the Shuvu Banim leader file civil suit amounting to 4 million shekels.
Again, even this headline is deliberately misleading, because it gives the impression that only a small number of the actual complainants are filing the suit, and that there must be millions more women out there that aren’t.
In truth, there were only two women the whole time, both false witnesses:
That’s it. There are no other women, there never were any other women. That’s why the rest of the story reads like this:
Three women filed a civil suit Wednesday against a convicted s** offender rabbi and fifteen others who they claim enabled him.
The women are suing Eliezer Berland, 80, for NIS 4 million ($1.1 million) and also demanding that he be barred from leaving the country until the case is concluded, Channel 2 reported.
The suit was filed in Jerusalem District Court by the two women, who Berland admitted to and was found guilty of assaulting, along with another woman who was not involved in the criminal case against the rabbi.
Why not? Why wasn't this women involved in the 'criminal case' if she had a real complaint to make?
There are so very many lies that have been told by this case, by so very many people, that even fitting all the information into a book is proving quite challenging. But as I’ve started, so I’ll try to finish.
May God protect us from all the liars, hatemongers and gossip-mongers out there. And may the Moshiach come soon, and deal with them all once and for all.
Go HERE to see all the Emunaroma FAQs and articles on the Rav Berland scandal in one place.
It’s no secret that for most of the last two decades, I really didn’t get on very well with my late mother-in-law. I’ve been musing on explaining how we finally made peace for a while, and I think that maybe this is as good as time as any, because maybe it will help someone else out there to make peace with a ‘difficult’ family member, too.
Before we dive in, here are some emuna principles that are going to affect the whole way we see these challenging relationships in our lives.
1) God is doing everything, and is behind everyone’s nasty, hurtful behavior
2) Everything is ultimately for our good
3) There is a messaged encoded in absolutely everything, about what we ourselves need to change, work on or fix.
Here’s some more general emuna principles that we’ll need as we go along:
1) The whole world is a mirror - whatever ucky stuff you are seeing in someone else (that’s still really disturbing you, annoying you, or causing some sort of negative emotional reaction) - you’ve got some flavor, some aspect of that issue yourself that needs addressing.
2) Children (especially below the age of bar and bat mitzvah) are just the mirrors of their parents.
3) A husband and wife are two halves of the same soul. Whatever you experienced, the other half also experienced it, albeit in a different way, externally. Whatever good you have in you, they have it in them. Whatever strength, whatever weakness, the other person also has it, just probably in a more obvious or more hidden way.
4) The spouse has to be the #1 priority in the other spouse’s life, ahead of work, kids, friends, learning Torah and even, parents and siblings. This principle is enshrined in every single one of Rav Shalom Arush’s books on family life and shalom bayit.
With those basic emuna principles out the way, let’s begin.
I didn’t know this stuff when I got married at 23. I’d moved around a lot as a kid, had a very ‘chaotic’ sort of childhood and on some level, was looking for a stable, solid family to join and to try to be ‘normal’ for a change.
This is a very common aspect of why opposites so often attract, because you know what you had wasn’t so great, and you’re trying to go over to the other extreme to make it ‘different’ in your own family life. But extremes are never healthy or helpful, in the long-term.
So, God sent me my husband, and right from the start there were a number of issues between me and my husband’s very stable, very ‘normal’ family, and especially with his mother, that often took the form of us arguing about eating in their (not so kosher…) home.
After a year of marriage, we stopped going up to their house for Yom Tov, and as we gradually got more observant, we found it harder and harder to eat there.
At that time, I blamed my mother-in-law 100% for what was going on. Why couldn’t she be more accommodating of our need to eat properly kosher food?! Why couldn’t she be more flexible?! What was the big deal, really, to try to kosher her kitchen so we could eat there?!
It took me years and years to figure out that on her side of the equation, I was expecting things that reasonably, she just couldn’t give me. Keeping her house properly kosher would set her apart from her whole extended family, make it very awkward to shop and eat the things she wanted to eat, and there were probably other more hidden reasons too, why she just couldn’t do that.
In the meantime, cooking food for her children was one of the primary ways that my mother-in-law showed her love for my husband - and I’d just stopped her from doing that.
The food wasn't really the problem
If either of us had been a bit more informed at that point about the deeper reasons why we were increasingly getting on each other’s nerves, things would have been so different.
If someone could have sat me down and explained:
“Rivka, you are very scared that your husband is going to choose his family, and what they want and decide, over you. And that would be absolutely awful, because you grew up always thinking that no-one was on your side, and that you’d always have to fight to get what you needed.
"You have a deep, soul-level need to feel like your husband is 100% behind you and on your side.”
That would have been very helpful. But that wouldn’t have only been half the explanation required. That same ‘someone’ would also then have needed to explain:
“Your mother-in-law feels very challenged by you. She loves her son dearly, and she wants to still be a part of his life. She can feel that he’s slipping away, and she’s fighting that every step of the way, not because she’s nasty or hates you, but because underneath it all, she’s actually very insecure and scared of losing him.”
If my mother-in-law herself had been consciously aware of this, and if she’d have been able to tell me her fears, we’d have been able to work together, and understand and appreciate each other, in such a different way. As it was, that didn’t happen.
As it was, the more she could feel him slipping away, the more she started blaming me for all the distance and issues, which made me feel increasingly uncomfortable and ‘unwanted’ around her, which made me want to spend less and less time with my husband’s family, which made my mother-in-law feel her son was slipping further and further away.
And so the cycle continued and deepened.
We got locked in a huge power-struggle, each one convinced that the other one was trying to do everything in their power to hurt and upset and score points when really, it was our own unspoken insecurities and fears that were calling the shots.
This post could go on for months if I gave more of the gory details, so let’s sum up the really bad situation that we ultimately got to, and then how God helped me to turn it around.
Around 2 years ago, things with my mother-in-law were at an all-time low. We were barely speaking. Acrimony, insults and accusations attended every call and email. Things got so bad that my husband’s health was really starting to suffer from the stress of it all.
For my part, I’d effectively given up on trying to fix things, and just hoped that any interaction could be kept to a minimum, and not damage my family too much, it had just gotten so poisonous and toxic.
But then, a series of events occurred with one of my children that underscored a very, very important principle that I hadn’t realized before:
We are all connected.
Just as kids are the mirrors of their parents, grandkids can also reflect their grandparents in a number of ways. When one of my kids started really struggling emotionally, I went through a whole bunch of stuff it could be, until I was left with one thing on the table: she was reflecting my mother-in-law.
And the only way I could help my kid to resolve her issues, I increasingly came to see, was if I tried to help my mother-in-law resolve hers. Which meant reaching out. Which meant trying to speak to her civilly again. Which meant understanding that underneath all the nastiness that had gone on, my beloved wonderful daughter and my MIL were actually pretty similar characters, in some ways.
That stage was really, really tough for a number of reasons. For years, I’d been pretending that my MIL was all bad. I hadn’t been seeing the good in her, I hadn’t been acknowledging that she had a lot of fine qualities, because it’s so much easier to fight with people and to stay ‘justifiably’ angry when you paint them as being all-black and evil.
Again, without going into all the finer details, God sent me a number of clues that helped me to realize why my MIL had been reacting and acting the way she had, right from the beginning of our relationship, and that a lot of it had actually been beyond her ability to control.
All of us in 2018 are traumatized...
She’d been extremely traumatized as a child by a number of things, and those sub-conscious reactions had been calling most of the shots in our ‘war’, the same way my sub-conscious reaction had on my side of the equation.
But things had gone too far, and been too horrible for too long, for a frank conversation to be enough to fix the problem.
Once I realized that, I told my husband we had had to give Rav Berland a pidyon on behalf of his mother, without telling her what we were doing (as ‘religion’ was still a very sore subject), and hope that God would clean the klipot out of the way.
So that’s what we did. It was a fairly big amount of money, and for three months, I didn’t hear a word from my MIL, although my daughter’s issues thankfully completely cleared up immediately.
Everything changed around
Until that fateful day around 10 months’ ago, when she phoned my husband a completely changed woman. She invited us to come visit her in the UK - on her tab - and made a huge effort to reassure us that she’d do whatever it would take to make us feel comfortable.
We were both so shocked, so happily, incredibly shocked, by the turnaround. And I was also so impressed, that someone who had suffered what she had, and gone through what she did, had the inner fortitude and strength to really turn things around, from her end, and to make a huge effort to fix what had been broken.
We went, we had a really good time, I finally let my guard down with my kids enough to leave them alone with my MIL for hours on end, so they could just talk without me breathing down their neck, and it was so good, and so healing, for everyone involved.
I also had a big chat with my MIL that visit, and while there was still some distance between us, we tied up a whole bunch of loose ends, and I think we started to appreciate the good in the other person much more than we ever had before. When we returned to Israel I made a real effort to start including her in our life more. I sent her pictures, I encouraged the kids to write to her and call her and text her, and reminded my husband to call her every week.
We had six months to patch things up, and to fix things, and I’m so glad we did, because right after Rosh Hashana, my MIL unexpectedly passed away.
I had a feeling that was on the cards, so before Rosh Hashana I made a big effort that each of my kids, and my husband, should have a long, real chat with her. My husband called her before he flew out to Uman, and he told me he’d just had the nicest, most real chat he’d ever had with her, and felt really good about having his mum back in his life.
That was their last conversation.
At the funeral, the Rabbi explained just how much of a force for good my MIL had been in her local Jewish community, constantly helping out and doing a whole bunch of kindnesses for people, and my eyes filled with tears.
In 2018, the yetzer is working overtime to convince us all that our mother-in-laws, and daughter-in-laws, and husbands, and kids, and parents etc etc etc are all just all-bad ucky horrible ‘erev rav’ type people.
“Give up on them and walk away! The problem is 100% on their side! If you can cut them out of your life, everything will be fine!”
This is such utter baloney.
We’re all connected. Whatever is not fixed and rectified will just keep popping up in the kids and grandkids until someone finally stands up and says ‘the buck stops here!! No more blaming other people or passing this down the line to future generations. We have to deal with it and fix the problem!”
And how do we fix the problem?
By working on ourselves.
I had to do so much work on my own anger, vengeance, blame, fear and other bad middot until I could finally see what was actually happening and why, and before my compassion for my MIL could become the guiding force in our relationship.
For as long as I was blaming her for everything, we were stuck - and my kids and my husband were also stuck and everyone was suffering so badly. Once I took the step of choosing to see the good in her, and choosing to see my own ‘bad’ in creating the situation, things could start to move.
Still with so much prayer, and so much help from the Tzaddikim, but BH, I had all the things I needed to really deal with the problem at its root.
And I’m so pleased I did, for so many reasons.
I could write out a whole bunch of ‘guidelines’ on how to navigate these tricky relationships that we all seem to have today. But it really comes down to this:
Look for the message the situation contains about what you need to work on, instead of just hating and blaming the other person.
God is 100% just using the awkward people in our lives to achieve something. Don’t bite the ‘stick’, just go back to God and try to figure out what’s going on.
Because in every argument and difficulty we have, we are never 100% blameless, and there is always work to do. And if we don’t knuckle down and try to sort things out, then our kids will be left to deal with that mess instead.
And that’s the last thing that any of us really wants to happen.
For the ilui neshama of Sarah bat Hinda - S, you drove me so bonkers but by the end, I was actually really glad to have you as my MIL. Thanks to our joint effort to sort things out, your kids and grandchildren are really blossoming now. I’m looking after your son really well, don’t worry! BH, this post will help other MILs and DILs bury their differences, and work together to help their families mend and heal.
So, I did some hitbodedut on whether this post should stay up or not, and I got the following back:
It's true to say that many Jews have an unhealthy obsession with money, and that is why God is using the anti-semites of the world to keep throwing that in our faces. Absolutely everything, without exception, is a message and hint from Hashem about what we need to work on, fix and improve on.
BUT - there is a better way of making that point, and I'm happy to phrase things differently to avoid unnecessary strife and division. So, I'm reposting this from a couple of years' ago, about Rebbe Nachman's tale of the Land of Money, and I'm deleting all the comments that were made on the last post.
Clearly, there is a lot to consider, in a very deep way, about this subject which is why so many of us feel so strongly about it.
The Land of Money
One of my favorite Rebbe Nachman stories is ‘The Master of Prayer’, which tells the story of how a great storm wind comes and throws the world into chaos, scattering the King’s ten advisors in the process.
The Master of Prayer is one of these advisors, and he takes it upon himself to go round the world reuniting the King with the other advisors, and rectifying all the countries who are now following ‘foolish’ beliefs about the meaning of life, as a result of the terrible storm they went through.
One group believes that the purpose of life is to eat; another that’s it to procreate; another chooses wisdom; another picks honor etc etc, but the most problematic land of all is the Land of Money.
You see, in all the other lands, there’s at least a moment, a second, when they’re satiated with their particular lust or desire, which gives the Master of Prayer an opportunity to come and talk to them about serving God, and the real meaning of life. But in the land of money, that simply never happens:
They think about money ALL THE TIME, and it colors their every thought and every waking moment.
Worse, the people of the Land of Money literally kill themselves for money; and they also turn their richest citizens into ‘stars’ and ‘gods’ (Rebbe Nachman’s language…) who they worship incessantly.
By contrast, people without a lot of money are considered to be sub-human animals, and given no respect, rights or accorded even basic human dignity. As a result, the Master of Prayer is finding it next to impossible to rectify the inhabitants of the Land of Money, and to bring them back to God.
By this point, you may well be squirming a little in your seat, because guess what?
In 2018, nearly all of us are living in the Land of Money!
And here’s how it’s affecting us:
I could carry on, but you get the idea.
To sum up the problem, it’s like this:
When people live in the Land of Money, money is the first consideration, and beats out everything else. Some common examples of this could include:
All of these statements have a ring of truth to them, don’t they? I know they do for me still, and I’ve been trying to leave the Land of Money for years’ already.
But there’s the problem: God is missing from this picture.
And when that happens, we start to build lives for ourselves based on the rules of the Land of Money, which states that our kids need expensive summer camps, and extra-curricular activities, and we need to be wearing labels, and to have everything matching, and that our homes need to be very big and spacious, and that every person over 17 needs their own car, and holidays are a necessity not a luxury, and that gourmet meals in fancy restaurants are what makes us happy, and guests must be offered a selection of expensive whiskeys and liquers to drink, and we must be working on plans to ‘get on’ and upscale our living arrangements, or our 401k plans, or our stockmarket holdings, or our property holdings and and and….
I’m exhausted just from typing that.
Here’s another problem that happens when you live in the Land of Money: You’ll literally sell your soul for cash.
Just ask all the bent politicians in Israel who take bribes for ‘peace’, or who (secretly…) sold Kever David to the Vatican for some big bucks, or who are happy to let Reform partition the Wailing Wall because they waved some dollars in their face.
When you live in the Land of Money, money talks, and God doesn’t. Or at least, not to you. Or at least, not in any way you care to listen to.
So how do we leave the Land of Money?
In the story of the Master of Prayer, it turns out the only way people can leave is via ‘the path to the sword’, i.e. very harsh judgments.
Those judgments could be severe health issues, severe marital problems, severe problems with kids going crazy or going off the derech, severe mental illness issues, or even (perhaps ironically), severe financial issues.
You want to know why so many of us are going through so much difficulty today, in every sense of the word?
This is why.
God is trying to get us out of the Land of Money once and for all, so we can stop obsessing about earning, and instead start yearning to get closer to God and to live a more spiritual life again.
It’s hard work, I know. But you know what’s even harder work? Getting stuck in a life, in a mindset, where money is the only thing that counts, no matter how miserable it makes you, how much it wrecks your peace of mind and relationships, or how much it kills your soul, your humanity, and your spiritual dimension.