First-hand testimony of how Rabbi Berland miraculously left his cell
Artwork by Daniel Kabakoff
Two relatives of Rebbetzin Levy were recently incarcerated in Tzalmon Prison, in the same cell with Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita.
Here, we bring the translated first-hand testimony of how Rabbi Berland was locked up – only for the prison guards to inexplicably find him outside of his prison cell again.
(You can hear the original story in Hebrew, HERE.)
Here are her words:
A little while before Shavuot, two members of my family live on a moshav in the North, and were arrested because of a fight they had over an inheritance.
The older brother attacked his sibling, and the younger brother tried to defend himself, and they both wound up in the hospital requiring medical treatment.
The police were waiting for them there, and they took them away to Tzalmon Prison.
Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, is to be found in Tzalmon, and at the beginning, the older brother was mamash in the same cell as the Rav, shlita. Afterwards, they moved him to the same cell with his brother, on the same wing as Rav Berland.
After they were freed, the brothers gave over the following story:
“The prison warden put Rav Berland into his cell, and then locked the door after him. But, after a few minutes, Rav Berland was walking around freely, in the corridor.
“The warden returned, and couldn’t believe what was transpiring before his eyes. He said to Rav Berland: “I locked the cell that you were in, how did you escape?”
The Rav replied to the warden:
“WHEREVER I WANT TO BE, I’M THERE. WHEN I WANT TO BE IN UMAN, I’M IN UMAN. WHEN I WANT TO BE AT HOME, I’M AT HOME. BUT HERE – I HAVE WORK TO DO.”
There’s another first-hand witness story about how Rav Berland similarly left his locked cell in the Nitzan prison, too, given over by the bachur (young man) Natan Tzubari.
Natan was camped out opposite the Nitzan prison in Ramla over Pesach, when Rav Berland was incarcerated there, over Pesach 5780.
While he was there, he overheard a conversation between two people, a woman and a prison guard, who were discussing why ‘all these chareidim’ were hanging out by the prison.
The warden replied:
“Their Rav, Rav Berland, is there inside. Listen to this story, fresh out of the oven. My friend closed Rav Berland into his cell today, in the morning, but after a few minutes, he saw him outside. He asked the Rav, ‘What are you doing here?! Just a few minutes ago, I locked you up! How did you get out?!’
“RAV BERLAND TOLD HIM, WITH A SMILE: “I CAME OUT TO INFECT EVERYONE.”
(This was at the time that everyone was worrying about Corona, so it’s clear the Rav was joking.)
We are the real prisoners here.
We are the prisoners of our lusts, and our bad middot (character traits), and our fears and our imaginations. But the Tzaddik, Rabbi Berland, he’s operating ‘outside’ of all these things, and is really doing whatever he pleases.
May it be Hashem’s will that very soon, Rabbi Berland will choose to leave prison.