For the last few years, I’ve kind of being playing softball with a lot of the bloggers, ‘rabbis’ and commentators out there.
But after I read the latest message from Rabbi Aharon Stern, son of the famous kabbalist Rabbi Dovid Chaim Stern, and a mekubal in his own right, I realise that it’s time to take the gloves off, here on the blog.
First, please go and read what he has to say, in full, for yourself here:
If you’re short on time, here’s the takeaway points:
“Chazal tell us that there are things that the judgment is ‘signed’ because of them. When they came and took Rav Berland, and put him in jail – this was the cry that ascended to the Heavens.
All of this big commotion is happening because this Tzaddik (Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita) is languishing in prison – in ‘bidud’ (isolation).
Hashem is angry….
Rav Berland is stuck in prison, and Am Yisrael is stuck with this Coronavirus.
We need to go out, and to cry out, until they free Rabbi Berland from the prison. If you have any brains in your head, if anyone wants to really save this [Jewish] people….
Perhaps, it was decreed that the Coronavirus was meant to be in the rest of the world, but in Eretz Yisrael, there was not supposed to be any Coronavirus.
EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING ONLY BECAUSE RABBI BERLAND IS LANGUISHING IN PRISON.”
Rav Stern continued:
“We need to cry out to Hashem, and then maybe he will take away from us this terrible gezeira. But we also need to act! We need action!
If we don’t get Rabbi Berland out of prison, then Am Yisrael will be in a huge problem! Chas v’shalom, this can continue to worsen and spread.
I didn’t want to open my mouth, but this thing depends on us. We can save Am Yisrael, RIGHT NOW.
Even though these words may sound strange, you should know that I am telling you the truth.”
Yesterday, I tried to go and pray at the Kotel, for day 23 of my 40 day prayer-a-thon.
I was stopped at the entrance to the plaza by a female guard – who herself was totally disregarding any rules about ‘social distancing’, and doing the usual flirting with the male guards thing until I showed up – which is when she told me to halt in my tracks (Achtung!!!!!)
Where are you from? She asked me aggressively.
I told her Abu Tor.
She repeated that literally four times, until I felt I should reassure her I was a Jew coming to pray at the Kotel, and not an Arab, because maybe that was the problem. Halavai. The real problem was that I was a Jew coming to pray at the Kotel.
A female Border Policewoman then looked over the top of the wall at me, (Raus!!) and started making veiled threats about Abu Tor being more than 100 metres away from the Kotel, and that I was running the risk of getting a 5oo nis fine for walking more than 100 metres from my house.
What happens if the grocery store is more than 100 metres away from my house? I wanted to know.
It’s ok to go out to get things like food, things that you need, she told me.
What if I need to pray? I wanted to know. Because believe me, I really needed to pray at the Kotel yesterday…
You can pray at home, she told me dismissively.
I so wanted to punch her in the face.
Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of practise now at squashing my more unhelpful Moroccan tendencies, so I spat out a ‘todah’ that was as sarcastic as I could make it, and turned around.
As soon as I was out of sight of the Wailing Wall’s Wehrmacht, I burst into tears.
Come on, Hashem, I can’t believe this! I’m being barred from praying at the Kotel by ‘Jews’!!! How much longer are You just going to let all the evil rule the world, and to continue to crush everyone’s soul into the floor, Hashem?!
To say I was gutted is a total understatement.
They’ve shut down all the shuls, all the yeshivas, all the kollels, all the men’s mikvas.
In the chareidi world, there are THANK GOD still large pockets of resistance, and a great many people who really do believe in Hashem, and have the emuna that keeping mitzvot is important regardless of what heretics think about Coronavirus.
More and more of those people are starting to wake up and to protest the terrible evil that’s going on here, and they aren’t just taking all these anti-Torah, anti-Semitic decrees mildly, like lambs to the slaughter. (Where have I heard that phrase somewhere before?)
But in the so-called modern orthodox world, the ‘dati leumi’ world, even the anglo-Chareidi world? The picture is very different.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who would self define as ‘dati leumi’, and she was telling me how she’s very scared the government is about to close down the women’s mikvahs. The conversation then lead on to how little protest against all these anti-semitic, anti-Torah decrees is coming out from the dati leumi camp in Israel – who are still more obsessed with politics than with Hashem and His Torah – and I ended up blurting this out:
All this Coronavirus stuff is really showing me who has real emuna and yirat shemayim and who doesn’t, and I have to tell you I’m seeing very little emuna and fear of Heaven in the dati leumi camp.
There. The elephant in the room had finally been mentioned.
And now it’s been publically identified, let it rampage around for the next few paragraphs.
For years and years, I’ve been writing about what a huge Tzaddik Rabbi Berland is.
I wrote two meticulously researched books that set out first his history, background and Torah pedigree – based on thousands of hours of taped interviews with some of the world’s biggest Tzaddikim – and then the whole, corrupt ‘trial’ that saw him go to prison in 2017 for crimes he never committed.
Let’s be generous and say that back then, so few people had heard of him before the media in Israel started slandering his name and muddying the waters with outright lies and fake videos, it’s understandable that they could have been fooled into thinking the worst.
But that wasn’t the real problem.
The real problem is that so many people out there – even people who consider themselves to be fine, upstanding religious Jews – are actually up to their necks in lashon hara, slander, arrogance, heretical thinking and Facebook.
So when all those juicy Rabbi Berland lies came along, they swallowed it down so very easily, because it came from the same sewer-source they were already happily swimming in 24/7.
Fast forward three years, and back in October 2019, it all started happening all over again.
More obviously fake stories by Channel 13, more obviously politicised smear pieces and hatchet jobs carefully placed throughout the Israeli media, including on pretend-chareidi sites.
Hashem geared it all up again, to give Am Yisrael a second bite at the teshuva cherry, and to show them just how easily they’d been fooled by the same tactics the first time around, so they could understand how they – and so many people together with them – were duped.
Thankfully, many people had their eyes open this time around, so the fake news had far less impact on far fewer people than the forces of evil hoped. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that so many of us are still so emuna-deficient, and still so emunat-tzaddikim compromised, that the fact that the Tzaddik HaDor was sent back to prison on obviously falsified charges didn’t move us at all.
And so, Hashem decided to send a very big test along, that was really going to show us just how much emuna we really have, and just how much yirat shemayim we really have, and just how much true connection to kedusha and real tzaddikim we really have, and He called that test Coronavirus.
The last couple of weeks, I have watched alternatively amazed and horrified at the ZERO emuna so many of our so-called rabbis and religious leaders have displayed, particularly in the dati leumi / modern orthodox camp, and particularly in the anglo so-called chareidi camp, especially out of Israel.
As these people have rushed to excuse and justify the closing of talmud Torahs, shuls, mikvahs and now even holy sites like the Kotel and the Tomb of the Patriarchs; and have rushed to pass new ‘rulings’ that make traif kosher – anything to go along with the evil people running the country, and to keep their own status and salaries – they have made it blindingly obvious that their path is not one of real Torah or yirat shemayim.
Really, it’s OK to do ‘Zoom’ at the seder?
Really, it’s OK to hold a ‘minyan’ via smartphone?
Really, it’s OK to tell people to stop going to mikvahs?
Over the last few weeks and months, so many leading kabbalists and rabbis in the chareidi world have come out with strong statements linking the spread of Coronavirus specifically with the defamation and disgrace of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, as well as with talking lashon hara and spreading slander, more generally.
Most of the apparently ‘orthodox’ bloggers and commentators and news sites out there have totally ignored these statements, at best, and some have even openly mocked the rabbonim who made them.
When I wrote the Geula P*rn post yesterday, I had these people and sites in mind.
But after reading Rav Stern’s latest statement, and having been turned away from praying at the Kotel yesterday, I feel that veiled statements and shadow-boxing with bad is no longer enough.
So, let’s lay it on the line.
What I’ve learned from all this Coronavirus saga, so far, is that the main reason why rabbis, bloggers, writers, papers, commentators haven’t been coming to defend Rabbi Berland is because they actually don’t give a monkeys about God or His Torah, either.
That is now as clear as day.
How can they close the Kotel, and you aren’t protesting? How can they stop synagogues from operating, and you stand there applauding this action on the grounds of health and safety?
These people are totally disconnected from their own souls, and from truth, and from Torah.
And that’s the reason why they are also disconnected from our real Tzaddikim, and ignoring and disparaging huge kabbalists and Tzaddikim, and slandering or ‘pointedly ignoring’ Rabbi Berland.
So really, I have to say thank you, Coronavirus, for finally ripping the masks off so many faces, and showing us all what we’re really dealing with.
Four years ago, I wrote a whole bunch of stuff bringing quotes from people like the Milkman, and Rabbi Dovid Chaim Stern, which basically made it clear that Rav Berland is the last test before Moshiach comes, and geula arrives unmistakeably.
So many people failed that test last time around.
But God is giving us all one more chance to be on the right side of the spiritual equation, when the curtain finally comes down.
If you care more about your own social standing, your status, the State of Israel, or petty partisan politics which means you will only broadcast messages from people in your own camp who wear the sort of kippa you approve of, you are probably going to fail the current test involving Rabbi Berland really badly.
You aren’t going to risk writing a blog post pointing out the link between Coronavirus and Rabbi Berland being in jail on false charges.
You aren’t going to protest that synagogues and holy sites and Jewish life is being totally shut down in the Jewish state on the flimsiest of pretexts.
You aren’t going to admit that so many of the leaders and ideas in the dati leumi and anglicised chareidi world are spiritually ‘off’, and disconnected from real Torah and true emuna.
You aren’t going to accept that YOU are playing a huge part in the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, and the ongoing suffering it’s causing to literally billions of people around the world, because you are choosing to shut your eyes to our true Tzaddikim, and closing your ears to our real rabbis, to continue empowering charlatans who like to churn out more Geula P*rn and mislead the masses about the real reasons things are happening in the world.
And the REAL teshuva we all need to make, to get things to turn around.
If that’s you, I really don’t envy you.
But if you want to be in the other camp – the camp that really does care about Hashem, and about Torah, and about mitzvot, and is really trying to make teshuva and to have some real emuna and connection to our real rabbis, it’s so easy to put yourself into it.
Just take a stand, publically, for the Rav, and either share something, or write something, or record something, telling your family and friends that the Coronavirus pandemic is only going to stop when Rav Berland gets out of jail.
Screw up your courage, and have some real emuna and real emunat tzaddikim.
I know it’s scary, but once you try it you’ll feel so liberated from the rule of tyranny that’s clamped down on us all in such a suffocating fashion the last two weeks.
All you have to do is say this:
When Rav Berland is released from prison, the Coronavirus epidemic will end, and Am Yisrael will be saved.
Right now, it’s so very easy to put yourself on the side of good and right.
And also, so very hard.
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