I got back a surprisingly negative response, so I queried it - which is when ‘Rabbi X’ popped into the picture. By way of background, I’ve had many dealings with ‘Rabbi X’ over the last few years, and he’s one of the slickest ‘false’ rabbis out there.
Why false? Because his pseudo-tzaddik ‘advice’ has left a trail of destruction in its wake, but he has never once, to my knowledge, ever acknowledged or apologized for the enormous problems he’s caused a large number of people by giving them very bad advice that often left their life in tatters.
The website administrator had contacted ‘Rabbi X’ to give me a suitably pompous response about why they didn’t want the article, so that I’d shut up and go away promptly. After all, when you’re dealing with a pseudo-tzaddik of the calibre of Rabbi X, you just don’t argue.
Except this time, I did.
Rabbi X sent me a response, with a link to an article containing all the patently libelous, disproven, forged ‘rabbinic statements’ from earlier in the week. Because Rabbi X is a slick operator, the link was from Kikar, the haredi news site, as opposed to the Jpost.
If you read the last post on lashon hara, you’ll already know that whenever someone does that, they’ve just transgressed 31 mitzvot d’orayta from the Torah. Even if I hadn’t had dealings with Rabbi X beforehand, that would have been enough for the red flag to go up that I was dealing with a pseudo-tzaddik, because can you even begin to imagine a true holy person pinging those sorts of emails around?
So I responded as follows:
Dear Rabbi X,
Firstly, I'm shocked that you're passing on these libellous falsehoods.
They were disproven a number of days' ago - and that was also reported on kikar. I'm attaching the statement made by Rav Yaacov Meir Shecter coming out in full suppport of Rav Berland, and explaining that his signature was forged on this document.
Furthermore, many Rabbis, including Rav Shalom Arush, have clearly stated in a number of public places, including on Kol Berama, that the whole case against Rav Berland is a fabrication made up by a couple of very troubled, mentally-ill individuals.
I don't understand why you're not printing the innumerable statements being made in support of Rav Berland that are being quoted on kikar.
Other Gedolim who have publicly and frequently come out in full support of Rav Berland include Rav Chaim Dovid Stern, Rav Dov Kook, Rabbi David Abuchatzeira, The Chelban, Rav Morgenstern (who convened a Bet Din to investigate all of the false allegations, and found them all to be completely without basis), plus other big Breslov Rabbis such as Rav Ofer Erez.
I could list literally 50 other big rabbis who have formally put out statements supporting Rav Berland, and decrying the terrible slanderous activities that have taken place over the last 3-4 years.
Rav Chaim Dovid Stern has said publicly that Rav Berland is the last test before Moshiach, precisely because it's not clear.
That's why we need to have 'emunat tzaddikim' and cast our own brains aside. Your own rav, Rav Y, is 100% in favor of Rav Berland and has stated that publicly in a number of different forums. Your website should be following the view point of your own Rav Y, and not anyone else for precisely that reason - only the true tzaddikim really know what's going on with this issue.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this - but please don't send me any more libellous, unproven slanders about Rav Berland, as emailing that stuff on to other people is as, as I'm sure you're aware, oyver the sins of: listening to, believing and passing on lashon hara, which involves transgressing 17 negative and 14 positive Torah commandments d'orayta.
That's exactly the point I wanted to make in the article about lashon hara, because it's absolutely shocking how even the most pious individuals are falling into the trap of the yetzer hara, and engaging in slandering a huge Tzaddik.
In fact, the following was also reported over on Kikar last week - I'm amazed you didn't see it yourself:
Sephardi Posek Rav Shimon Badani Issues a Psak Halacha about speaking about Rav Berland negatively
Now dear reader, can you guess what happened next?
Before we continue, take a moment to imagine how you would react, if you’d discovered you’d been pinging around libelous statements and spreading lashon hara about an individual that your Rabbinic mentor was supporting 100%. Now, imagine how a true Tzaddik would react, if they were caught doing that (clearly, this bit is theoretical because God-fearing people simply don’t do those things in the first place).
Maybe, you’d apologise for making a mistake? Admit you’d acted a little improperly? Show some modicum of shame or embarrassment? I mean, you’re meant to be a BIG TZADDIK, remember, who takes things like slagging off Gedolei HaDor at least a little bit seriously….
This is what I got back from Rabbi X:
“I always do what Rav Y tells me. Blessings and success.”
Sent from my i-Matzaddik phone
So now, I’m meant to assume that ‘Rav Y’ has explicitly told the pseudo-tzaddik to send people libelous emails about Rav Berland, and he’s just humbly following orders?!?!?
I think not.
Rebbe Nachman wrote so much about how the world would be flooded with false leaders and atheism in the time before Moshiach. In Rebbe’s Nachman’s Wisdom, he says this about them:
“Now that atheism has spread, the thong is untied for the people to speak against every Tzaddik and God-fearing man.
"Those who do this unleash their tongue against the world as if they think nothing at all of it. Actually, their disbelief is directed against God Himself. But they are ashamed to speak out against God…Himself, so ‘their tongue walks the earth’ [a quote from Psalms 73:9) - they unleash their tongue against God’s followers in the world. But the truth is that ‘they have set their mouths against heaven.’"
HOW FALSE LEADERS OPERATE
There are SO many false leaders out there today, in every strata of the Jewish world, from the ultra-orthodox all the way through to the ultra-secular. What they all have in common is that they:
- Are self-serving and self-promoting
- Spread hatred and dissent of other Jews - some more obviously and some more subtly
- Spread lashon hara and libels against real Tzaddikim - just some get their info from Kikar, others from Ha’aretz or the Jpost, and others still are the source of the libels being manufactured
- Like to pretend that they’re ‘whiter than white’ and above reproach while slamming into other people for all sorts of flaws and transgressions (i.e., they’re hypocrites)
- Fail to acknowledge, or apologise for, anything they do that's hurting other people
- Pretend that everything they’re doing to further their own agenda, status or bank accounts is actually completely just for the Am
- Act as though the Torah’s rules, or even secular rules of common decency somehow don’t apply to them (they’ve got a HETER to have an i-Phone, and to be on Facebook 24/7, and to spread lashon hara about other Tzaddikim etc etc)
Once again, the whole issue with Rav Berland is flushing these people out of hiding in their droves, because there is simply no excuse for sending around libelous emails about Tzaddikim, and then not making sincere teshuva for doing that when the whole thing is proven to be lies and a forgery, and even ‘pseudo-tzaddiks’ should know that.
*UPDATE ON RAV BERLAND’S SITUATION*:
After holding him for a week already with no court case in sight - because the Israeli police have NO witnesses, and are scrambling to try and find some - the Israeli Judge just gave Rav Berland 24 hours notice that he has to post the enormous sum of half a million shekels in bail, to be released from prison. That money has to be raised by 5pm local Israel time today, Monday, July 25.
If you want to know one of the reasons why Rav Berland left Israel rather than stand trial, you’re seeing it in action: the plan appears to be to keep the 80 year old, frail Rav Berland in prison indefinitely, despite the complete lack of evidence against him.
You can contribute to the fundraising effort HERE - and I want to encourage you to give as much as you can. This isn’t really about Rav Berland, it’s about good vs bad, and standing up to all the false leaders in the Jewish world who are delaying Moshiach and empowering our enemies.
Please give generously, and pass this on to others, too!