This is a translated excerpt of a shiur given by Rav Berland a couple of weeks ago.
It really helped me to shift my perspective into one of having more emuna again, after dealing with that horrible story of the 108 small, frum children repeatedly kidnapped from Jerusalem and assaulted in horrible ways – while the police here continue to totally cover it all up.
BH, I will translate more snippets from the Rav this week, and he’s saying a lot of things that are giving some much deeper insights into what is really going on at the moment.
In the meantime, here it is, and I hope it gives you chizzuk, too.
Words from the Rav on the Parsha
It’s like now, we read a story that occurred in the Shoah, that a grandfather said to his grandson, either you will be a Jew, or you’ll die. I don’t want you to be a goy.
He – the grandson – was placed with a priest, and the grandfather made a condition with the priest that under no circumstance should he be forced to become a christian. He agreed this with the priest, that he should protect his grandson from the Nazis, on condition that he wouldn’t missionize him.
Because that grandfather had saved the priest’s life when he fell in some pit with his wagon. There, in chutz l’aretz, everyone was falling into swamps and pits. (And so to show his gratitude, the priest agreed to save his grandson from the Nazis.)
In [the book] Kivsha Hashachora, he brings down [this story.] I read it, with the Rabbanit.
Long story short, he recounts how one person put his child with the Priest, and how he told him, if the Priest wants to baptise you, go and kill yourself, go and commit suicide. Jump from the window, and die.
[And in addition to this] he also made a condition with the Priest, that he wouldn’t baptise him. Ultimately, the Priest died after two years, so he [the grandson] ran away to the forests, exactly when the Shoah began in Poland, on the 17th of Elul.
After that, there were more pogroms, after this on the 25th of Av there was a pogrom, it was a year where they were doing pogroms without stopping.
This captain [in the Russian army] who saw how the Tzion exploded, he came to Poland with the army.
He was a Breslover. He was in the KGB’s Yevetskiya. He was going to be the biggest commander, but in the end he said that he was going to make teshuva, and that he’s going to go now and conquer Uman.
The first thing is to capture Uman, the first thing, everyone travels to Uman. Tonight, everyone is travelling to Uman, this is the first thing.
They fought precisely right next to [Rebbe Nachman’s] Tzion – the Germans and the Russians. And he [i.e. the captain] saw how the Tzion exploded, and even, which shell exploded it. He saw it with his own eyes.
After that, he got to Poland with the whole army, and he went into the beit knesset there.
He was still a bachor (young man). He got there with 10 falafel (Israeli slang for the shoulder epaulets that show an officer’s rank) on his shoulders,
He was a captain – they thought the KGB had come. This was the evening of Kol Nidre, everyone was petrified, they didn’t know whether they should just run away. He said: Don’t run away! I myself am also a Jew!
He saw how everyone was broken, and how they were so overwhelmed with fear, they couldn’t even pray.
He asked them: Who are you afraid of? Are you scared of me? You have nothing to fear! I’m not the KGB, I’m just a captain who is chasing after Nazis.
They said to him: No, tomorrow they are going to come and kill everyone! They are saying that tomorrow there will be pogroms, and they are going to kill all of the Jews. They already announced it! There is no escape, there is nowhere to run to.
He said: What, what is this ‘pogrom’? Who is going to do this pogrom?
They answered: All the goyim (non-Jews), all the Poles, all the hevra’men, all the gangsters of the city.
He replied, ain’t going to happen! I’m now going to stand watch over you!
He stood on the roof and saved everyone. He didn’t leave a trace of them [the sonei Israel] Maybe they went to Gan Eden, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe [they went] to Mars. It needs to be clarified.
In any case, we are telling the story [of a Jew who left his child with a Priest], and he told him, if the Priest wants to baptise you, jump off the roof! Commit suicide! Take poison!
“It’s better that you die as a Jew, instead of being a non-Jewish young man!”
And this Priest kept his word, and he didn’t convert him. And when the Priest died, he didn’t have what else to do. He said that he was the son of [the Priest’s] sister, and that he had to go back.
He was pale, and he had blond hair. When the Nazis passed next to him, they used to hug him and kiss him, because they thought he was a German boy. He couldn’t stand that. He knew they were murderers, the people who had killed his grandfather and his mother, and his family.
One day, he went next to the fence – the wall bordering the ghetto. And he heard some girl crying out, maybe, you have some food? I’ve already been here for a few days, with no food.
He heard the girl crying, and he ran home, (took some apples and threw them to her.) He did like this for five days, then went and told the Jewish partisans that there was some girl hiding out by the fence. He didn’t know how she looked, but he knew that each time she was catching the apples.
She yelled at him, throw something, some food! She also didn’t know who was doing the throwing. She didn’t know if it was a Nazi, some ‘Nazi-Chassid’ from the nations of the world, some Pole. Whoever it was who saving her life, she didn’t know. She was a child aged 10.
Her uncle had hidden her under the bushes, next to the wall.
So, the boy called the Jewish partisans, and then he climbed over the wall and grabbed hold of her – and the Nazis didn’t see. Maybe, it was dark. He found her in the bushes and took her away to the forests – for three years. There was another three or four years, until the end of the war. So they brought her to the forest.
After she grew up in the forest, there was a trip to Eretz Yisrael. She was broken. She’d seen such awful things. She said, where was God? Where is God?!
When I was growing up, I always thought about where was God. I was a child aged 7. I used to answer them, about all their kooshiot (difficulties / questions). I was 7 years old, and everyone came back from the Shoah.
My cousin, and my uncles. Everyone used to come to me with a million difficulties, I used to talk. Even my father used to come to me.
I said to them, what’s all this? They went straight to Gan Eden! This was without any din! (Harsh judgements, that need to be ‘scrubbed off’ by a temporary stay in gehinnom.)
It’s written that a single ‘singe’ in gehinnom is far worse than the whole of Auschwitz.
[Ed. note: stop and think about this sentence for a moment. It encapsulates everything, about why there is so much suffering going on in this lowly world of ours – and why God is still only good, regardless of the suffering going on.]
[Those who were murdered in the Shoah], it’s six million people who made a ‘request’ of Hashem, that they wanted to come down in a generation of shmad (annihilation).
That they wanted to come down in this way, because they wanted everything to be atoned for.
No [stain of sin] remained for them! They asked Hashem for this! This is the whole reason they came down to the world!
It’s not like there was some mistake here. They chose this, and there was a pigua (terrorist attack) here.
All sorts of questions – but they chose this! They asked Hashem before they came down to this world, ‘send us down in a generation of shmad!’
Translated from the Shivevei Or Newsletter, 255.
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