Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breslover leader R' Eliezer Berland: Allegations of sexual assault

Haaretz  Nonetheless, the testimony against Berland that is now coming to light has the Haredi world, and in particular the Shuvu Banim community, in an uproar. No less shocking than the criminal aspect of the matter is the fact that sexual asceticism is one of the main spiritual foundations that Berland preaches - and in this case he was apparently caught red-handed. 

This scandal comes on the heels of a stormy series of events that has been ongoing since late 2010; indeed, it turns out that allegations of sexual assault by him were already being made back then. Berland previously staged a sort of "coup" against his wife, son and members of his court, when he allowed publication of his claim that they were confining him against his will, seeking to have him committed, and denying him contact with his disciples. 

The rabbi, as part of his revolt, managed to elude, with the aid of a handful of loyalists, the security guards keeping watch over his house, and announced that he had escaped from captivity. Meanwhile, video clips came to light in which his son and grandson are documented in conversations acknowledging that they were exploiting him. A while later, the rabbi reconciled with his family, but the community was left traumatized and divided. Many left, the rabbi fell into debt, and about a year ago several of his senior disciples, including businessman Eran Hochberg (a former youth chess champion ) and Binyamin Ze'evi (son of the late politician and government minister Rehavam Ze'evi ), also jumped ship. 

The speculation within the community is that the allegations of sexual harassment reached his wife, Tehila Berland, and son Nachman even before they became public knowledge. For that reason, sources say, the pair sought to keep him out of the public eye, as Eliezer Berland himself has charged.

26 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityMarch 24, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    1 of 2:

    The Berland Catastrophe:

    Those who have been following Berland over the years, including carefully reading the "promotional" articles about his "biography" as well as noting the running reports of various blogs that have kept an eye on him and reported about his sexual weaknesses -- will understand that this is not an "aberration' on Berland's part but rather it is something that has always been part of his "core" in a number of ways:

    (a) He is a genius, and as the saying goes, "there is no genius without a touch of madness"!

    (b) He started out from a modern Bnei Akiva background. The Bnei Akiva has a reputation as a successful co-ed Religious Zionist youth movement that has attracted many teenagers to Jewish observance and made them more religious. But paradoxically, like the NCSY movement in America, the appeal of this type of youth movement is the casual nature of the contact between the boys and girls who are not always as strictly separated as they should be given its Orthodox affiliation. In other words, there is lots of "hank-panky" and fraternization that goes on to which a blind eye is always turned by the madrichim, madrichot, youth leaders, parents and even the rabbis. All in the hope of keeping these youths "in the fold" -- it does work, but it is controversial halachically.

    (c) According to some published "biographies" it was Berland's wife who slowly introduced him to the whole Breslov way of life by making him curious about books she read about Breslov. She obviously had much influence over him and "knew her customer" from the an early stage and must have known about his weaknesses but like many good wives she forgave him and overlooked it. All that could go on, on a very small scale. But when "critical mass" is reached and he became the leader of thousands and had contact with thousands of people, invariably having access to vulnerable females, and males, who came to him for "blessings" and "counseling" as so happens with rabbis or people in positions of power, he abused it for his own peculiar reasons. His family and close disciples must have suppressed what was really going on from the get-go because of all the kavod, money and since Berland was famous for having many high-level political connections within the Israeli establishment, who looked at him as "one of their own" Israeli holy men.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityMarch 24, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    1 of 2:

    The Berland Catastrophe:

    (d) One of the biggest factors CANNOT be overstated and that is that one of the major faults of SOME high-level Chasidic mystical thinking (not all, but some, as well of some mystics who fall into this "honey trap") is that on some levels parts of it are NO DIFFERENT to the aspect of Sabbateanism that encouraged sexual immorality as some sort of "sublime service" also practiced by the Frankists.

    Shabtai Tzvi (1626 - 1676), the charismatic kabbalistic genius and false messiah adored by hundreds of thousands in his age, found, practiced and taught "mystical" justifications why not observing the laws of arayos (the sexual relationships forbidden by the Torah and Halachah) is "permitted", and in fact he took it further, he found curious justifications why these relationships were even "higher" from episodes of Lot and his daughters, Yehuda and Tamar that resulted in progeny that indeed turned out to be the forebears of the "Mashiach".

    Thus it is not surprising that Berland would tell the females he lured into immorality, or that even outright came to him for that, that he was performing "purification ceremonies" on them. This is not part of his crazy mind, but it is a core part of his practice of Breslov mysticism.

    Another famous case of someone who got into this and who was also into Breslov bug time, was the charismatic musical genius and scholar the singer Shlomo Carlebach, who in his day had these kind of immoral relationships with some of his vulnerable or bewitched "groupies" justifying it that he was "warming up" their "cold neshomas" and that he was thereby actually "saving them" from "drowning" -- thereby making "sin" into "mitzvah" since on a very high level in God's domain "all is the same the same" and the most important thing is the attribute of "loving-kindness"!

    But it is now just plain shocking to see a major rabbi be publicly exposed (bad pun) for such inexcusable behavior.

    Now the chips are going to fall where they may.

    Naturally, to many he will now become a "martyr" while others will not attack him but just try to tip-toe away and hope that no one notices that they were at his parties and have also in the process picked his "philosophy of life" R"L.

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    Replies
    1. RaP, you're making a very serious unsupported allegation!
      "Thus it is not surprising that Berland would tell the females he lured into immorality, or that even outright came to him for that, that he was performing "purification ceremonies" on them. This is not part of his crazy mind, but it is a core part of his practice of Breslov mysticism. "

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    2. "Thus it is not surprising that Berland would tell the females he lured into immorality, or that even outright came to him for that, that he was performing "purification ceremonies" on them. This is not part of his crazy mind, but it is a core part of his practice of Breslov mysticism. "

      This is quite a surprising comment, Rap. As a Breslover, I am unfamiliar with this idea. Would you please cite a source in the writings of Rebbe Nachman or Rav Noson Sternhartz for this "core practice". If you can't, perhaps this comment needs editing.

      Ezra

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    3. Recipients and PublicityMarch 25, 2013 at 7:01 AM

      Hi guys, you are barking up the wrong tree. You should be asking the top Breslover Reb Berland where and how he got into his concocted immoral theories and behaviors that he can longer run from, now that so many women are coming forth with the accusations against him, they were there, and that are now no longer a secret. Ask him what his rationale is for kissing, hugging, and doing whatnot with these female chasidistas of his. Ask him what is his rationale for his weird "purification" and other immoral ceremonies with them. He is the one who has created this chillul Hashem and now Breslov will pay for it. To an outsider it is an updated version of the Shabtai Tzvi phenomenon all over again. Blame yourselves.

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    4. Rap,

      A. I'll assume then that you have no source for your accusations about Breslov practice outside of your imagination. You really ought to edit your comments.

      B. The vast majority of the Breslov world, especially those in Meah Shearim, would be surprised to learn that Rav Berland is "the top Breslover". On what do you base this assertion? He is most certainly the leader of his own significant kehilla, but the Breslov world reaches far beyond his followers.

      C. Your "guilty until proven innocent" assumptions about a Rav with a decades long history of drawing thousands of Jews closer to Torah and mitzvos is ashame.

      D. Why should the Breslov world blame itself for something it didn't do or know about if it even happened? Simply because a leader is alleged to have sinned in private?

      I'll take leave of this discussion by wishing everyone a good yom tov. I also want to remind you that by and large Breslovers are good Jews with a sincere desire to serve and draw closer to Hashem the best we can. If you want to know the truth about Breslov, don't look to Haaretz. Instead open one of Rebbe Nachman's or Rav Noson's seforim.

      Ezra

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    5. I am very familiar with Breslov chassidut, including the works of Rebbe Nachman and Reb Noson, and I can tell you there's nothing remotely Frankist or tolerant of sexuality morality in Breslov teachings. For Rebbe Nachman, strict observance of HaBris, or sexual morality in general, is the key to spiritual advancement, and sexual sins are the root of all sin. Of course, without any prejudment re: Berland, it is always possible for a believer in any ideology to twist it for one's own ends.

      As far as his importance in the Breslov community goes, he's certainly well-known, but he is not one of the main Breslov gedolim. (While there have been no Breslov Rebbes after Rebbe Nachman, there have been a handful of gedolim in each generation, as described in detail on some Breslov websites.)

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    6. Part One:

      IIAC, "nobility" as used by Shuva Banim Breslov leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland is somewhat of a mistranslation. Most likely Berland said "Olam haAtzilut" - as his student & witness to Berland's promiscuity, Itai Nachman Shalom, explicitely stated on Israeli TV as saying that this was what Berland told him when the student confronted his master about seeing him naked in bed with an underage female, that the student "merited to see his master in the world of Atzilut."

      While in general, "atzilut" can mean "nobility" (as in the biblical "Atzil ruach," meaning "noble of spirit"), in this context however it is a specific kabbalistic reference to the loftiest realm of the divine light, that state where the light is closest to the source & from which the infinite light disseminates to the realms below it, to the worlds of "beriah" (creation) "yetzirah" (formation) & "asiyah" (implementation).

      "Olam ha'atzilut," as used here, then should be translated as "The World of Emanation," i.e. that most supernal dimension from which the purest form of the infinite divine light emanates below.

      According to kabbalah, particularly the Lurianic stream, the world was initially in a state of perfection, of Atzilut, until Adam's eating from the Tree of Knowledge. From then on, our purpose on earth is to rectify (tikkun) that "fall" of the light & to restore it to its original form (& according to some, take it even higher), elevating the trapped sparks below in "asiyah" etc. (or even those trapped in the "Other SIde"), back to Atzilut. & this is how the messianic revelation & the fulfillment of the redemption will actualize.

      It was this teaching, of restoring the sparks from the lowest realm - even those hidden in the crassest of sins - to the messianic state of Atzilut, that was the main justification of Shabatai Tzvi & his followers to transgress the Law & make permissible various prohibitions, including of the sexual nature - & even incest (by permitting the biblical "arayot"). They called this reinterpretation of the Law to transgress the Law, "The Torah of Atzilut." (see Prof. G. Scholem's seminal biography of Shabatai Tzvi, "Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah") & it is this same teaching & kabbalistic concept that Berland used to justify his acts.

      Moreover, the Breslov obsession with "tikun" of sin (itself a popular Lurianic practice, which was adopted by Shabatai Tzvi's followers, primarily Nathan of Gaza), leads one into a Catholic-style vicious circle, where through habituation, that which is supposed to be the effect & repair (the tikkun to repair one's sin) actually becomes the cause (driven to sin IN ORDER to perform tikkun). This can lead one to in fact reinforce his/her negative behavior & perhaps to "fall" even lower - & to even psychologically justify one's despicable behavior.

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    7. Part Two:

      There are some who say, even some critics of Berland, including Itai Shalom, that Berland is nebech not well psychologically, that he is a "mental patient" who needs help.

      Though it is doubtful that he is psychologically impaired enough to plead insanity (on Youtube there are countless clips of the past few years where, though behaving somewhat eccentric, he in no ways exhibits madness) - but even if Berland is insane, how can this be used as a defense for Breslover, whose very teachings extoll the state of supreme madness! See Prof. Zvi Mark's astounding & under-appreciated book, "Mysticism and Madness, The Religious Thought of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav" (Bloomsbury, 2009), [Hebrew original: "Mistikah ve-Shigaon Bi-Yetsirat R. Nahman Mi-Breslav" (Am Oved, 2003)]

      Another point: Since Breslov does not have a Rebbe for over 2 centuries, everyone, even the greatest Breslov leader, can claim that he is not a real Tzadik or Rebbe, that he is just like his followers, a lowly sinner, & that, in fact, he NEEDS to sin in order to relate to the followers on their level. (This is also related to the teachings of Rabbi Leiner of Ishbitz.)

      Yet on the other hand, people like Berland use the other side of the coin to their advantage, that as a Tzadik, every urge & feeling he has is considered holy (for he is a tzadik after all) & is determined by God. So even if it is something that is typically prohibited, yet since the tzadik has the urge anyways it must mean ipso facto that it is kosher! (This too can find correlations to the teachings of Ishbitz & Rabbi Tzadok of Lublin, his disciple.)

      As to how & why such a saint like Berland can not only sin but act in ways that even the lowest of his followers wouldn't dream of, the Talmudic phrase is often quoted, that "One who is greater than his colleague, his [evil] inclination is also greater than his [colleague's]" ("Kol hagadol mechaveroi yitzro gadol mimenu"). However, they fail to understand the obvious meaning of the text, that the Talmud is telling us that that greater person is also given the powers to combat that greater urge - for if not, the Talmud would not call him "great" in the first place!

      Eventually, all the pieces of the Shuvu Banim drama of the past few years are coming together. Until now, we thought that it was his son & grandson who were the evil ones surrounding the saintly father (holding their father hostage, extortion, the mafia, beatings, prostitution, drugs etc.). Apparently Berland's wife is not well either & had a nervous breakdown. The obsession with security & isolating the father seemed also very strange. As was his mania to speed drive & run from one place to another - as if running away from himself....

      But now it makes more sense. Apparently, the children were trying to protect their father from his own ill behavior, & used what they knew about their father as blackmail in order to do what they wanted to with the Shuvu Banim community. Of course, any spouse living in such chaos would have a nervous breakdown, especially if she found out what her husband was up to.

      One hopes that the more "sane" Breslover leadership, such as the Kenigs in Tzefat, have the courage to publicly ostracize Berland & reach out to help the victims. Otherwise, Berland & Shuvu Banim reflect an existential flaw in the entire Breslover theology & current leadership.

      --ZIY

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    8. ZIY: Your arguments are speculative and wrong. It is not true that Breslov extols holy madness or whatever (though being a little silly to make onesself happy is certainly mentioned). The idea that not having a rebbe means that a tzaddik need to sin to relate to his followers doesn't make sense either. Breslov has existed for 200 years without any Frankist tendencies. The NaNachs may be weird, and there may be some Breslov-inspired hippies out there who smoke marijuana or something, but they're not Frankists. If anything, Breslov has had fewer high-profile scandals than other charedi groups.

      The problem is not with Breslov teachings per se, but rather with any complex mystical belief system(as with all kabbalistic and chassidic groups) -- a person who wishes to sin and find some obscure justification for it, or create a cult-like atmosphere (whether it involves sin or not), can creatively twist the teachings to justify his behavior. This doesn't mean we should abandon mystical teachings, but rather than we should be careful with them and ensure that people abusing them are stopped.

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    9. From ZIY: One of Three:

      "One who is greater..." ("Kol Hagadol Mechavero..") - Talmud Bavli, Sukkah 54a

      Sometimes biblical verses such as "There is no Tzadik on earth who does good and does not sin" (Kohelet 7, 20), & "Seven times the Tzadik shall fall and rise" (Mishlei 24, 16), are quoted to justify the leader's sins.

      But if the saintly sinner of King Solomon's verse was indeed as low as everyone else he would not be called a Tzadik in the first place!

      So obviously the type of sins of the ideal Tzadik are not in the same league as those done by most people. For the Tzadik, even a minor flaw, which if done by someone else would not be considered major, is considered as such for him. Even when the Tzadik "falls," he still is higher than most others at their highest.

      But never is it implied that the Tzadik sins in the same way as most others. & certainly it is not a license for the Tzadik to sin in ways that would make his followers blush!

      Even when Moses sinned (which according to Ishbitz was in order for Moses to relate to the sins of the suffering Israelites), it was by speaking to the stone rather than striking it - a relatively minor infraction - not by following Zimri into the Mideonite tents of iniquity...

      [Nontheless, Chasidut & Kabbalah discuss in several places the concept of "the descent of the tzadik" ("yeridat hatzadik") into the realms of impurity - so all this is not new. See, for example, what the Rabbi Y.Y. of Polnoeh, prime student of the Baal Shem Tov, writes in one of the very first chasidic books ever to be published: "If the generation is wicked & he is a tzadik & totally not on their level & unable to elevate them, then sometimes the tzadik also has to descend from his level through some cause of sin that comes to him from those of his generation...& when he is on their level he can then elevate them when he returns to his level" (Ben Porat Yosef).]

      Breslov is even more susceptible to this seeming contradiction of the sinning saint, for Rabbi Nachman referred to himself more than once as "a proster" (Yiddish for "a lowly crass one" or "a vulgar one") - yet at other times said that he is greater than his grandfather the Baal Shem Tov & even alluded to himself as the messiah. [How striking the similarities with the radical heretical (post-Sabbatian) leader Jacob Frank who also called himself exactly the same way, "a proster," yet then went on to proclaim that he is greater than Shabbatai Tzvi &, of course, the messiah.]

      Rabbi Nachman's embodiment of these extreme, even opposing, poles, of the sublime & the mundane, has set the tone for many Breslovers who try to emulate their master in all ways - including in being "prost" (vulgar). It is just a matter of degree: how prost.

      Moreover, not only are there those who wish to emulate Rabbi Nachman, but there are those (both in this generation & in the past) who claim to actually be the reincarnation of their master.

      This is no minor point. Until recently, even an astute Breslover scholar like Prof. Tzvi Mark -

      – who has taken Breslover studies beyond the research of Profs. Joseph Weiss & Arthur Green; is was Prof. Mark who finally decoded & published the most secretive Breslover text, the crypticly-written messianic tract "Megilat Setarim" [Ramat Gan, 2006] (translated into English as "The Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nchman of Breslov" [MA, 2010]) –

      was duped by Berland's charm & charisma & was able to claim as recent as 2 years ago that, in contrast to other Bratslav rabbis who saw themselves, at least implicitly, as reincarnations of Rabbi Nachman, "I did not find any such claim in Rabbi Berland." (see: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/religious-macho-1.362981 )

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    10. From ZIY: Two of Three:

      Yet it has recently come to light that this is precisely what Berland not only believes but encourages his followers to believe! On a Facebook page for victims of Shuvu Banim, a recent defector posted a prayer that Berland composed last year & was spread amongst his followers to "merit the public". Here it is (seems to be authentic):
      רבונו של עולם כל יכול אתה הוא בעל הישועות ובעל הנחמות. זכה אותי עד פסח תשע"ג שנת "בביאת המשיח" שיתגלה הרב שלנו לכל העולם שהוא שליח רבנו בדור הזה. ונזכה להכלל ברב הקדוש והנורא הזה שהתעברה בו נשמת רבנו ממש ורבנו נתן ורבי שמעון בר יוחאי ונשמת האר"י הקדוש ונשמת הבעל שם טוב הקדוש ולא אמות כי אחיה ואספר מעשיה

      Translation: "Master of the universe, Omnipotent One, You who bring salvation & comfort - merit me that by Passover 5773, the year of "the arrival of the Messiah" ["beviat hamoshiach" is gematriah (5)773], our Rabbi [Berland] reveal himself to the whole world that he is the messenger of Our Master [Rabbi Nachman] of this generation; & may we merit to be included with this holy lofty Rabbi [Berland] for WITHIN HIM HAS BEEN REINCARNATED THE [literally: impregnated] SOUL OF OUR MASTER [Rabbi Nachman], LITERALLY, & [the souls of] Rabbi Natan [Rabbi Nachman's foremost disciple] & Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai & the holy Ari [Isaac Luria] & the holy Baal Shem Tov, & 'I shall not die for I shall live & tell of the works of God' (Psalms)."

      While this practice of composing new prayers is not new to Breslov (Rabbi Natan famously wrote & self-published entire books of original prayers titled "Likutei Tefilot"), the content certainly is. This prayer in particular has set the tone over the course of this year for his faithful followers to all be in anticipation of something "special" to happen around this Passover season. How prescient....

      There is another prayer posted on the Facebook page of Berland's defenders that he composed for Passover (of this year?) - a long rambling text of liturgical phrases & kabbalistic concepts pertaining to Passover & the seder. Interesting to note that buried in it Berland makes reference to the Messiah as being associated with the snake (same gematriah) - a main trope used by the Sabbatians & their interpretation of how Shabbatai Tzvi was able to act sinfully like a snake, slithering back & forth from the sacred to the profane. (see the early writings of Nathan of Gaza & Avraham Cardozo.)

      Years from now, when scholars such as Prof. Mark will properly research Shuvu Banim & Berland, these prayers will becomes primary texts & the full magnitude of Berland's warped psyche will come to full light.

      Since Berland believes that he is Rabbi Nachman, it is no wonder that he tries to emulate him - & then some. This explains why Berland travels spontaneously & erratically & even manifests a persecution complex - for this wanderlust-drive was a salient feature with Rabbi Nachman himself, as can be read in his biography "Chayey Moharan" ("The Life of Moharan") & he was also overwhelmed by persecutions both real (the Shpoler Zeide, some secularists etc.) & imagined (Napolean, the "forces of judgement," the "masters of evil" etc.).

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    11. From ZIY: Three of Three:

      In one of the few letters known to be written by Rabbi Nachman himself, he writes that he has to leave Breslov "because of the great suffering & difficult events that were thrust upon me, and now I shall wander from tent to tent in perpetual transience." Hitting the road, then, becomes a geographic reflection & extension of the traveler's own unsettledness & inability to find psychological stability. This explains why even now no one is sure where Berland is: In Switzerland? England? Brazil? Uman? Back in Israel? For, to his followers, "where" he is is less important than the fact that he is in a state of "travel" to accomplish mysterious tikkunim (spiritual repairs).

      It has also come to light that, apparently, not only have the thugs of Shuvu Banim used violence, but that Berland himself has a reputation of hitting his followers, suddenly letting loose a barrage of slaps on unsuspecting individuals. This is a typical tactic used by some extreme religious movements, such as Scientology, Siddhayoga, Osho in his Rajnish days, etc.

      But Berland does it better. In one case, he apparently beat up an entire class of children, then made them dance with him in joy. The effect was twofold. First he shocked them with pain when they were open with trusted love towards him, then the very source of this pain "healed" them with joy.

      Of course, any corporeal punishment like this is interpreted by him as "sweetening the judgments" ("hamtakat dinim") & in fact something positive...

      Some Berland defenders claim that the stories of him & the young women & girls cannot be true because of his age & health etc. But, as Lis Harris showed in the New Yorker's expose of Siddha-Yoga years ago, even old age did not prevent Muktananda from sexually abusing girls & boys (see: http://www.leavingsiddhayoga.net/o_guru_english.htm)

      It should be noted that Berland has been controversial for years, & was chastised by some of the elder Breslov leadership, including by his teacher Rabbi L.Y. Bender, for things like rambling his own words during prayers & other (minor) halachic infractions. But never for acts on this scale. Until now.

      It will be interesting to see if Berland's antinomian practices will be seen by his students as something only their master is privy to, or is it something that even they can begin to embrace. It was this that split the Sabbatian community into 2 camps: the believers who followed Shabbatai Tzvi & also converted to Islam & broke the Law (the Donmeh etc.), & the believers who believed that only Shabbatai Tzvi is allowed to sin while they themselves have to continue adhering to halachah (Nathan of Gaza & his followers).

      Perhaps one day a student of Berland will compose a "Chayey Moharab" ("The Life of Moharab" = Moreinu Harav Eliezer Berland) & we'll find out what "really" happened.

      -- ZIY

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  3. modern day frankist.

    recently i was at a minyan at which a chabadnik yelled out some "yechi harebbe who is the moshiach" message.

    i really don't get what causes seemingly shomer mitzvot people to throw the shulhan aruch out the window.

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    1. actually my question is more about the followers who justify this stuff. if someone accepts the dark side of the force, OK it happens. but why do others justify it with all sorts of rationalizations that anyone who lives the SA must know are frankly, stupid.

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  4. There is a disconnect between performing the mitzvos and the reason for performing them.
    I'm sure this guy, for example, has the most mehudar tefillin on the block and spends 15 minutes just saying the first line of kri'as Shema. But it's all about action without any real inner content. It really is all about the clothes you wear, isn't it.

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  5. Recipients and PublicityMarch 24, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    1 of 2: Berland Catastrophe unfolds:

    More from the Ha'aretz article written by Tamar Rottem that describes the pure Sabbatean nature of how Berland and his ilk operate/s/d:

    "It took A. some time to realize she had been sexually harassed by Rabbi Eliezer Berland - a holy and righteous man in her eyes - and for her to file a police complaint. She is 18, married, her pretty face wrapped tightly in a black kerchief in the so-called Jerusalem fashion. She is going through a crisis, not only as a woman who was sexually harassed, but also as someone who was raised with a unique system of beliefs, at the center of which is the rabbi, the righteous foundation of the world.

    Since A. became disillusioned, her world has collapsed. She stopped working, and her life now revolves around both the court case and the rift in her community, which has shunned her since she submitted her complaint to the police.

    "I am the daughter of a veteran disciple of the rabbi," she says. "My father still believes in him. I think that if he were to cease believing, he would die from it. Today, now that I am outside, I understand that Shuvu Banim is a false Hasidic sect that is only after money. Everything the rabbi would do was very peculiar, not ordinary. He would yell, would travel around at night to tikkunim [sessions of 'spiritual repair'], and we'd follow after him.

    "My husband is a righteous one. Our vart [a Yiddish term for an occasion that proceeds a betrothal] was at the rabbi's. We waited there all night. My husband cried to the guards to let us in to see the rabbi, and only at 5 A.M. did we break a plate. I was pleased. It was a matter of pride between me and my girlfriends that I had a groom who would chase after the rabbi. After the sheva berakhot [the week of nightly meals and blessings after a wedding], my husband continued his pursuit of the rabbi. He would go to Hebron, Amuka [in the Galilee] - wherever the rabbi was, my husband would chase after him. Later I joined in too.

    "We thought we were demonstrating our devotion. For a year after our marriage, I did not have a single evening with my husband, because I was busy, in pursuit: We were the rabbi's minions. There was a group of women who pursued the rabbi. The rabbi would excite us, suddenly emerge from the car, do tikkun, and then get in and drive off. I worked from noon until 4 P.M., so that I would have time to sleep in a little in the morning, but many times I would telephone and say that I wasn't feeling well. So I also wasn't receiving a proper salary.

    "My father instilled in us at that the rabbi is the essence of spirituality at home. I began going to the rabbi too, because we'd heard you could get a blessing. Once we used to see him from afar, but now we realized that you could get in to see him without paying millions of shekels. We got excited, we started going to him at night.

    "The first time I went in to the rabbi, it was with another woman: He gave us a kiss on the forehead. Something gentle, a kiss from the righteous one. At the time I didn't think it was unusual, but from a kiss it developed into holding you, touching, licking. A lot of women don't believe the rabbi touched and kissed [others], because he didn't touch them. These are older Ashkenazi women.

    "If he had touched them, they would have done him in. So he did it to us, the innocent disciples. Like that, so we wouldn't feel it, his hands were constantly fluttering about."

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    Replies
    1. I am in agreement with RAP on this one. And there is no shortage of "mystical rebbes" perverting their power structure, and taking immoral advantage of their followers.
      Thus, misnagdic Rebbe Tropper, Hassidic Berland, and almost every day in the news there is another case.
      Are these direct Sabbatean descendants, or just the general abuse of Power that being a rabbi gives?
      The saying goes that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      Delete
    2. I have no connection to Rav Berland, but I do know that he has inspired thousands of Jews to draw closer to Hashem over many years. It's sad that people are simply assuming that these accusations are true based on an article in Haaretz.

      Ezra

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    3. Eddie, "And there is no shortage of "mystical rebbes" perverting their power structure, and taking immoral advantage of their followers.
      Thus, misnagdic Rebbe Tropper, Hassidic Berland, and almost every day in the news there is another case."
      "no shortage" "almost every day" ?
      There are deviants. One is too many. Unfortunately there are more.
      If you're in pursuit of truth and justice do it in a just manner and don't exaggerate.

      Delete
  6. Lets not forget the many modern orthodox sexual deviants such as tendler from monsey or lanner from ou or schneir among many others. And

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. absolutely, as well as as RZ such as Motti Elon, and several others..

      Delete
  7. Where is Berland hiding out now? and who will keep him away from innocent females in America?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he is hiding out in morocco.

      http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=52972

      Delete
    2. Recipients and PublicityApril 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      Berland catastrophe mushrooms out of control: 1 of 2:

      Ah yes, it is beginning to make sense now, just as the false messiah Shabtai Tzvi finally landed up in Ottoman Turkey a Muslim land that PERMITS bigamy and accepts harems and has a welcoming attitude to belly dancers and tolerates the fuzzies of sexuality as co-existing with the frenzies Islam, and Shabtai Tzvi even consented to become a Muslim himself, no wonder that Berland now finds a similar "home" in moderate Morocco where they still have harems, multiple wives and welcome sexual freaks who justify themselves with false religious auras. Probably the Israeli authorities are happy they don't have to deal with the Berland catastrophe because it involves too many notable Israelis that Berland interacted with over the years and who must now be covering up for him and stalling him being brought to justice for all the immorality he is alleged to have committed by the women and girls who now openly accuse him legally.

      This Chillul Hashem has no end:

      In Hebrew:

      http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=52972

      "08/04/2013

      הרב אליעזר ברלנד משתקע במרוקו • ראש הקהילה: "מקבלים אותו בכבוד"
      בניגוד לדיווחים על התנגדות מצד בני הקהילה המקומית - הרב אליעזר ברלנד, מתכונן להשתקע במרקש שבמרוקו • הרב שנמלט מישראל בשל חשדות פליליים חמורים נגדו, שכר דירה מול בית הכנסת של הקהילה המקומית • הרב ג'קי קדוש, מראשי הקהילה: "קיבלנו אותו כמו שמקבלים צדיק"

      ..."

      In English:

      http://www.bhol.co.il/article_en.aspx?id=53043

      "Rabbi Eliezer Berland settling in Morocco • community leader: "openly welcomed"
      Contrary to reports of opposition from the local community - Rabbi Eliezer Berland, is getting ready to settle in Marrakech, Morocco • rabbi who fled Israel because of serious criminal allegations against him, rented an apartment across from the synagogue of the local community • Rabbi Jackie Kadosh, one of the community leaders: "We welcomed him like we welcome a tzaddik"

      Yoel Koritz, B'Chadrei Charedim ,

      9 Apr 2013"

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    3. Recipients and PublicityApril 10, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Berland catastrophe mushrooms out of control: 2 of 2:

      http://www.bhol.co.il/article_en.aspx?id=53043

      The storm over Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who heads the Shuvu Banim institutions, who is staying in Morocco continues to issue titles:

      Today, for the first time since the rabbi left Israel, he gave over a shiur by using a special phone line, to his followers and supporters residing in Israel.

      B'Chadrei Charedim learned that during the last week the Rabbi is staying at the home of one of the Jewish community members of Casablanca, Morocco.

      On Tuesday, according to the plan, the Rabbi is expected to return to Marrakech, where he stayed before and will stay in the city until an unknown time.
      It has also become known that the rabbi came to Morocco with seven suitcases full of holy books which he used during his stay in the country. About 30 of his followers have arrived in recent days to Morocco to spend time with him, and his associates reported that a large number of the Rabbi's followers will arrive next week to Morocco.

      In Marrakech, according to the information, the Rabbi rented an apartment building located in front of Temple Beth - El, belonging to the Jewish community.

      It therefore appears that the rabbi is going to stay in the country.
      "Welcomed the Rabbi"

      The central figure in the Jewish community, Rabbi Jackie Kadosh, denies in a conversation with B'Chadrei Charedim, the Channel 2 reported last night that the community he heads is not interested in having the Rabbi in their midst: "We welcomed him like a tzaddik," he says. "We cannot allow anyone to judge, especially not such a righteous and holy man."

      • Are you aware of the storm in Israel?

      "Certainly. Like everywhere in the world, we read news online, and we believe that one day the truth will come out. We have nothing to fear. We see how the Rabbi acts and how he behaves. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. The Rabbi prayed with us in the synagogue a number of times, and the entire community accepts him with the same respect and great admiration."
      Rabbi Kadosh said he speaks with the Rabbi a lot. "I talk to him at every opportunity. We talked mainly about the community, about life in Morocco and how can you help the Jews who live here."

      • Has the Rabbi referred to the storm raging around him?

      "I have not heard a word from him about what was happening. He never talked about it."

      During the call Rabbi Kadosh confirms the fact that proponents of Rabbi Berland began coming to Morocco: "There's a few dozen followers. The Rabbi told them to come. They pray and study Torah at our synagogue. He asked me to take care of those who do not come to learn that they should not stay here." "

      Delete

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