Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Flash 90

In response to a question sent to him online, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, tells readers what he thinks of the Berland saga.

Question: People have turned to me with the request to help save Rabbi Berland from jail. Is doing so part of the mitzvah of freeing Jewish prisoners?

Answer: G-d forbid. Tens of testimonies exist from women who were abused by Rabbi Berland. He has admitted to his closest followers that he committed the most grievous sins of forbidden relations (all his confessions are recorded).

His close followers and family couldn't believe what they were seeing because of excuses that he had [hitherto] made for himself. When they understood that he is a sinner, they tried protecting him from sin, but he fled and continued to sin. Therefore there is no choice but to put him in jail. There, he won't be able to sin.

Many who still follow him know of his severe sins, but think that if they protect him, they will prevent a desecration of G-d's name. In my opinion, they err in this. The real desecration comes from the Rabbi committing the most grievous of sins while wearing Tefillin. This is a desecration of G-d's name and this is what is delaying the Redemption.

When Berland arrives in the world of truth, he will thank every one of his followers that distances himself from him today. He will thank every woman that complained to the police and brought testimony against him. He will thank all the investigators and police that are trying to put him in jail. In their merit he won't continue to sin and cause the public to sin.