light coming through a prison window

Today, I got an email from someone I’m close to who works on the Shuvu Banim website.

It was quite a simple email, hinting that there’s a possibility that the person could be arrested soon, in connection with the ongoing police investigation against the Rav.

My contact wanted to know if I could keep an eye on the English ravberland.com website, if that happened.

What can I tell you? I kind of freaked out.

I got on the phone to find out what’s going on, and I learned that seven of the Rav’s attendants are still being kept in prison – together with the Rav himself – and that another 30 of the people around him are due to be targeted by the police any day soon.

Where am I living?!? Soviet Russia, Pinochet’s Argentina, or a country that prides itself on being ‘the only democracy in the Middle East?

That’s what I was asking myself after that call.

Because when all is said and done, there is no crime involved in telling people they should pay sums of money for a pidyon nefesh, and there is no crime involved in receiving that money.

Everyone has free choice – it’s the whole reason why God created the world – and everyone can CHOOSE to believe what they want, and to give their money to whoever they want.

Rebbe Nachman defined free choice like this:

If you want to do something, you do it.

End of discussion.

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(Btw, if you want more background about the spiritual concept of pidyon nefesh  – as described in the Breslov tradition – you can find that HERE and HERE.)

True, sometimes the pidyonot don’t work out as hoped.

Sometimes, you can go to the best doctor in the world, and then still die on their operating table. Sometimes, you can follow the healthiest diet in the world, and still come down with stomach cancer. Sometimes, you can force-feed yourself mega doses of Vitamin C, and chew powdered turmeric all day, and drink your 3 litres of spring water chased with wheatgrass shots – and still get COVID.

Why?

Because God said.

Because this world is full of hidden tikkunim and loose ends from previous reincarnations that aren’t obvious at all.

Because there are no absolute guarantees in life, except that one day we’ll all die.

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What I want to know, is if the police are happy to go after Rabbi Berland for doing pidyonot, not all of which work, but many of which work miraculously amazingly well, are they also going to start going after all these doctors and their institutions who also make big claims that they can cure people for lots of money?

And if not, why not?

Even in my small bubble, I’ve heard so many stories of patients being charged massive sums by greedy surgeons for operations and procedures that still failed miserably, and often did more harm than good.

Where is the equality, here? Where’s the justice?

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In the meantime, after that call I got a little shaky.

I mean, I’ve written two books about the Rav with my real name on them… maybe that’s also now an arrestable offence in the Soviet State of Israel?

Maybe, putting up blog posts pointing out the obvious persecution, and the obvious foul play and corruption going on in relation to this latest ‘investigation’ into the Rav and Shuvu Banim could also land me in the clink?

Who knows?

If there were real legal rules being abided by here, real laws you could examine and clarify, there would clearly be nothing to worry about. Remember, Israel is the only ‘democracy’ in the Middle East!!!!

One of the few silver linings of this whole horrible situation is that it should be painfully clear to even the most ‘anti’ idiot out there that the Israeli Police are politicized, corrupt, and crossing every legal red line you can think of. If this is not about the pursuit of ‘justice’ – and clearly, it isn’t – then it does get a little stressful, pondering whether writing a book and a blog post could be enough to get me thrown in the slammer too….

Hopefully not.

But I still got a little shaky this morning.

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Sigh.

I wish all this confusion would disappear, already. I wish things would be easier, smoother.

Each day, I’m bowled over by something else to consider, something else to try to birur and clarify, something else to test my emuna and emunat tzaddikim.

I’m tired, God.

And still the madness continues.

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UPDATE:

I just got this via email from someone in Shuvu Banim:

moments ago Rav Berland was removed form the police interrogation room in a stretcher to the emergency room, exact situation not known. He’s been suffering from heart problems… this is the second time he passed out during interigations. the police have him hadncuffed to the hospital bed even after undergoing heart cath. please pray and share the link.

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They’ve started up a chesed fund campaign to try to raise money to free the Rav from the hands of the evil Israeli government – pidyon shvuyim, but it’s beyond crazy that this is happening in the supposedly ‘Jewish’ state.

You can see the campaign HERE – and it has approbations from many big rabbis, if you want a very good cause to donate to.

Man, how much lower can things go? BH, I’m off to the prayer gathering for the Rav at Kever Rochel now, happening at 7pm. Please also say some tehillim, do a tikkun haklali, whatever you can, to add your prayers into the mix. We need all the help we can get, at this point.

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Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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3 replies
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      I can’t believe this craziness… It scares me to think that a person could so easily be misinformed and fall to the other side. I thank G-d for bringing me your writings and books.

      The whole thing with Rav Berland going to prison with his attendants actually reminds me of something that was written about earlier. That Moshiach will go with his followers to the desert for some time and they will learn Torah…?

      Reply
  1. michal rus
    michal rus says:

    so im hoping your absence for the last 5 days has been due to moving and being busy and that you are safe
    sending hugs and tefilos
    tefilos for all am yisrael during this time

    Reply

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