But now things are coming to the fore and I've started to realize that things aren't what they've seemed. Based on my own experiences, I tend to be cynical of rabbis at this point (NOT genuine gedolei hador, but community rabbis, pulpit rabbis, dayanim, etc., no matter how popular they are and regardless of how important they are considered by their fawning flock). And I am very reluctant to take a stand on this one way or another. But a couple of things happened to drive me to make a public declaration of my support for Rav Eliezer Berland.
First of all, Emunaroma has posted very compelling and thoroughly researched posts, particularly the following:
Setting the record straight about Rav Eliezer Berland
Who's really behind the terrible slanders of Rav Berland? Rav Motta Frank speaks out
The birth of Moshiach
An open letter from Rav Yehuda Sheinfeld: We're dealing with a delusional individual, here
Breaking news: Rav Berland arrives back in Israel, and is greeted by more incredible libel - read Rav Meir Shecter's official rebuttal
Full English translation of the letter from Rav Yaacov Meir Shecter, defending Rav Berland
The tide starts to change: Rav Berland is suing Channel 2 for slander and defamation
For a full list of posts and resources about Rav Berland's innocence and righteousness, please see here.
Strikingly, Emunaroma's Rivka Levy is someone who has spoken out frequently on her blogs against all kinds of abuse in any community (frum or not) and judging by her posts on Emunaroma and Breslev Israel, she is clearly not blinded by a rabbi's official certificate of ordination or his high-falutin' position.
Furthermore, I half-heartedly gave a small pidyon to Rav Berland via the Shuvu Banim office and got a very nice and immediate result.
After speaking about this several times with Hashem, the message I kept getting was a resounding impression of Rav Berland's innocence.
So....am I wrong? Perhaps. Will I seriously regret taking a stand for Rav Berland? Perhaps.
If so, I will make a full apology and retraction on this blog, bli neder.
Getting Clear Answers through Prayer
Before any kind of request, Chazal says we must praise Hashem first. Also, doing teshuvah cleanses us and at the moment one has fully admitted to and shown remorse for his or her sins, he or she is on an exalted level (even if it's just for a moment).
So based on Chazal, here are some tips toward getting the clearest answer from God:
- Say a chapter of Tehillim with as much kavanah as you can, or express 10 things for which you are grateful to Hashem or tell Him 10 things you love about Him (or you can do 2 of these or even all 3)
- Think of at least one thing you did today that you regret. Tell Hashem how sorry you are and explain how you will avoid this regrettable act in the future (if necessary, apologize to the person if it was a person-to-person fail)
- Make your request
There are variants on this, of course. You can say Perek Shira or Shir Hashirim instead of Tehillim. You can even just say the words Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the World) or Ein od milvado! (There is nothing but Him!) with great passion and understanding. (If you really think about it, either term is great praise.) You can pour forth 100 expressions of gratitude and love for Hashem (or, if you're having a really hard time, just 3) instead of 10.
You can do teshuvah on more than one thing; that's always preferable.
Just to reiterate: The above aren't my ideas; they're from our Sages.
Please daven for Hashem to rescue, protect, and free Rebbe Eliezer ben Etya
May Hashem answer all the mishaalot of our hearts for tovah.
(Comments are closed for this post, no offense.)