A Letter written by HaRav Eliezer Berland to all the students of the Yeshiva
27 Shvat, 5777 [23rd February, 2017], the year of the coming of the Messiah 777
To all the students of the Shuvu Bonim Yeshiva.
The Rav requests from all the students of the Shuvu Bonim Yeshiva, wherever they are located, to strengthen and encourage all those who are persecuting and harassing us. To support and encourage and strengthen them in every possible way in order to promote and advance their cause. To help finance and further their endeavours physically and spiritually, with our very nefesh, ru'ach, neshama, chaya and yechida. To provide them with an unending supply of scandalous and contemptible material [to publicise against us].
The reason being, that the benefit that we at the yeshiva receive from this hostile degradation and oppression is a reward that all the tzaddikim from the beginning of time have eagerly sought after. They would be willing to hand over every penny in their possession in order to endure such disgrace. Anyone who is not willing to suffer hearing themselves disgraced should leave the yeshiva this minute, rather than answer the detractors back in any way.
Furthermore, anyone who would consider himself a student of the Rav should know that the Rav requires all his students to wake up no later than 12:00 at night. Until the 26th of Adar it is possible to pray maariv at 6:30, which will leave 5 hours to sleep for all those that have to sleep. They should then wake up and say Tikkun Chatzos for the next hour or two. They should weep tears of bitterness over the destruction of the Temple, and also plead with Hashem that He should send us an unending amount of disgrace and degradation. Following that he should go out to the fields for an hour or two and pray with all his power and strength that the Rav should also suffer an unending amount of disgrace and degradation.
After that he should learn from the book Ketzos HaChoshen until shacharis. Since, as Rebbe Nachman writes in Torah 62, it is a vitally important mitzvah for a man to sharpen his mind in every way. This is a primary mitzvah and also the most important, because it is only through having a penetrating and astute mind, writes our holy and awesome Rebbe, that one can fulfill the mitzvah of "know what to answer the atheist," (Ve'da Mah She'tashiv L'epikoros), which has the initial letters of the word Shalom. This is the only way to achieve inner peace and complete prayer. Through this one can connect his body to his neshama through concentration during prayer, to separate himself from all physicality, and to attach himself solely to his neshama which is the inner essence of the person, the holy spark sent down from Above. This will enable him to unite with the Life-giving Force, with Hashem Himself who is the source of all life, happiness, joy and success.
Our holy and awesome Rebbe explains, in Torah 277, that all those who persecute a person are in fact his most enthusiastic fans and supporters. It is as if they are digging giant tunnels in the direction of his home in order to deliver to him trucks filled with diamonds, pearls and all kinds of precious gems. By answering them [his detractors] back, even one word, he is throwing away all the diamonds, pearls and precious gems, G-d forbid.
In Torah 12 the Rebbe quotes the Gemara "Hurmiz the son of Lilit was leaping from one [mule] to the other, [holding two cups of wine and] pouring from one cup to the other, and he spilled not a drop on the ground, even though it was a day of 'rising up to the sky and sinking down to the depths'". Despite the fact that we at Shuvu Bonim are entrenched in a predicament of "rising up to the sky and sinking down to the depths," suffering through tornados, hurricanes, monsoons and all kinds of stormy winds, "rising up to the sky and sinking down to the depths," we have to be extremely careful that "not a drop" of the false charges and degradations of our accusers should "fall to the ground".
Our holy and awesome Rebbe writes that all the Torah learned by one's false accusers, everything that they have learned from birth till today, everything they learned in all their previous incarnations, since the time of Adam HaRishon, including all that the angel taught them while in their mother's womb–it all passes over to the one they are degrading. The one being attacked will suddenly find that all the wellsprings of wisdom and knowledge are opened for him, just as they were opened for the holy Rabbi Chaim Vital after he drank from the Well of Miriam.
All the secrets of the Torah will be transmitted to him, as they were to Rabbi Akiva. The Midrash Rabbah, Chukas 19, relates that secrets that weren't even transmitted to Moshe Rabbeinu were transmitted to Rabbi Akiva and his students, as it says (Job 28:10), "...and every precious thing that his eye saw," this is referring to the secrets that were given over to Rabbi Akiva. The Megalei Amukos explains that this is referring to the secret of the Shin of the tefillin which had not been revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu but yet was revealed to Rabbi Akiva and his students. Reb Nasan in Likutei Halachos, Tefillin 4, explains that this is referring to the Shin with three legs as opposed to the Shin with four. This is the aspect of the persecution that only the greatest tzaddikim are worthy of suffering. This is the aspect of the red-hot iron combs with which they scraped the skin of Rabbi Akiva, because of which were revealed the secrets of the two Shins, which will not be revealed again to any other tzaddik until the coming of the Messiah.
It is impossible for anyone whatsoever to achieve any kind of serious spiritual advancement without going through persecution and oppression. There is the story of Rav Chaikel who asked the Rebbe, "Rebbe, I want to ask you a question but I am afraid that you will kill me because of it". The Rebbe said, "Ask". He asked, "Rebbe, why do you draw upon yourself such persecution"? The Rebbe answered, "Chaikel, it's a good thing you protected yourself before asking...the reason is because there is no way I can carry out my mission and fulfill my commitment other than through suffering controversy and disgrace."
[The Rav now adds on,]...anyone who is willing to take upon himself to persecute and harass me should be encouraged and supported to the best of our ability. We should inspire and strengthen them to double and redouble their efforts, in order to increase their success, and anyone who is unable to suffer this degradation should leave the yeshiva immediately.
[The king] Achav was one of the three kings who ruled over the entire world; he held 273 princes captive. Eliahu HaNavi was told by Ovadia, (Melachim 18:10), "Is there a single nation where the king [Achav] has not sent to search for you...and they all answered that they cannot find you". When they heard that the greatest king in the world was unable to find one single man, Eliahu, all the nations of the world left their evil ways and returned to G-d. [They all realised that the truth was by Eliahu, and not by the evil Achav]. Achav called him, 'Traitor of Israel' and every other derogatory name he could think of. Yet not for one second did Eliahu abandon his path of holiness and devotion to Hashem. He killed the 450 prophets of the Baal, and 400 prophets of the Ashera in front of everyone. Despite the fact that Jezebel told him, "...by this time tomorrow I shall make your soul like the soul of one of them". And it is written, "When he saw...," which can also be translated, "When he feared...". Rabbi Chama asked Rabbi Yosi, Why did he fear? The Chidushei HaRim asks, Can it be that a man who slaughtered 102 men feared from Jezebel? Rabbi Yosi answered, Don't read it 'he feared,' rather read it, 'he saw'. "...and fled for his life" (vayelech el nafsho) really means that he attained his soul. [The Rav is pointing out with this story that one who dedicates himself to doing the will of Hashem has nothing to fear from all those who persecute him.]
Breslov Institutions, Yeshivat "Shuvu Bonim",
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