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17.3.12

I knew the head of the Lev Tahor movement (the Taliban women) in Safed.

I knew the head of the Lev Tahor movement (the Taliban women) in Safed. (His name then was Erez Shelomo Halberns). He is magnetic and charismatic is a very high degree. He was a disciple of Rav Shelmo Shick. Rav Shick stayed in the home of Erez every time he came to Safed and showed him great warmth. Erez at the time was trying to create a synagogue  on the name of Rebbi Nachman in Safed--but this did not succeed. Later Abraham Traceman tried to start a building project, "Breslov City" in Safed and even spent a few thousand dollars to have an architect draw up the building plans.[he also had a phone bill for about a thousand dollars trying to coordinate this project with Rav shick who was in New York at the time.] This also did not succeed. The major problem was the Breslov community did not want competition and did a lot of very dirty tricks to stop the establishing of alternative Breslov community in Safed. One example is that when Erez managed to get permission to start a Breslov synagogue he and put a Breslov sign on it. People from the Breslov community pulled down the sign and beat him up to an inch of his life and he spent a few days in the local hospital (Ziv). There were many more events like this. The major issue here was money. The Breslov in Safed were making millions of dollars in regular trips to the USA by representing themselves as the true Breslov community in Israel. They did not want any competition.
Erez eventually left Rav Shick and that is where the history in the article starts.
But it is important to note that everything that was written in the newspaper Haaretz about the period that I know something about was all wrong. It makes me wonder if this is their standard of accuracy?

Breslov in Safed tended to very non kosher tactics. They wagged a kind of silent war against anyone connected with Rav Shick. This included me. They had clever ways of waging war against me. After all they thought I could not know who was harassing my family and me. And they knew that there was nothing I could do to protect my family from, their types of harassment.

Eventually most of the leading Breslov people in Israel have woken up to the threat of the Breslov in Safed. They have publicly signed a public statement against them.
Though I have certain difference of opinion with Rav Shick I still highly respect him. Learning Torah and keeping the plain Shulchan Aruch is the fundamental aspect of his teaching and at the core of what he actually does.--not just says. And frankly I have a hard time disagreeing with this. My basic complaint against Rav Shick and the general frum [Orthodox] approach is not that this approach is wrong,- but that it could be and should be better and more human and less totalitarian. But it would be better for me to have wings also. That does not mean I should complain about airplanes.



Erez (Halberns), incidentally, tried opening a Breslov Synagogue all over Safed. Every few weeks he would take me along to some person who had offered to him a building to start a synagogue. Once we were at the major of Safed. Other times we were at some home owner [in Canaan, North Safed] that happened to have a synagogue on his property. Somehow Breslov in Safed had spies that were keeping track of Erez. So what would happen would be we would be offered help and the deal be sealed with a handshake [which has the status of a contract in Halacha]. Then the Breslov people would come and tell slander to the person. Then the next time Erez would go there he would be thrown out. (I was usually not present at the occasions on which he was thrown out. I was invited usually just for the initial meetings)
Incidentally, Rav Shick absolutely loved Erez. He definitely was setting him up as his prime disciple in Israel after Nissan David Kivak. I was definitely at the bottom of the barrel. Rav Shick (you could say) did not like me. I could never figure out why. [I think I probably rubbed him the wrong way because of my free thinking. This free thinking has annoyed everyone  in the Ultra Orthodox world, and in fact broke my once chance at real shiduch.  The Ultra Orthodox like followers, not thinkers.]


At any rate, back to Rav Shick. As a final note I must say that when I was at a speech from Rav Shick and he would talk about Faith--I would feel the whole world light up. He definitely had this power to convey this to people. I assume it was from the Intermediate Zone which is from the Side of Holiness but is still mixed with some Sitra Achra. Hey, but that is just my opinion.

Concerning the Divine Presence, this is a pretty basic component of the service that Rebbi Nachman was recommending. My basic feeling about it is that when one fulfills the basic path of Torah, then  there is some type of aspect of the Divine Presence that seems to descend on people. But the drawbacks to this are first --that it is like I said often mixed with the "Intermediate zone" depending on the spiritual vessels of the person.  Holiness does not in any way imply right opinions or intelligence of even good character. And also even when it is pure Divine spirit, well she is simply hard to take. Most people if they would have a glimpse of the Divine presence for even a second would never ask for it again. It sears and fries the soul.