Thursday, June 30, 2016

Shelach; "7, 8, 11, 13"- Why These Numbers On Tzitzis?? by Rabbi Shlomo Pollak

What is the "Kesher" of these numbers and the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, that we wrap each corner with these specific numbers???

It turns out, they equal 39, and correspond with many other concepts in Torah...

In this Shiur, we walk through some of the connections, and try to "tie" them all together, into one concept....

For questions and comments please email at salmahshleima@gmail.com



Snapping a picture of your hotel room could help stop human trafficking

Fox      Snapping a picture inside your hotel room could help protect children across the globe.

The TraffickCam app enables travelers to submit pictures of hotel rooms around the world. The images are matched against a national database used by police.

“You just enter your hotel name and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou said. “And then those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked.”

Stylianou was among the speakers at a Human Trafficking Town Hall at Maritz Tuesday.

“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds,” she said.

Hotel photos submitted by travelers will allow police to query the database to determine where the pictures of victims were taken.

TraffickCam now has more than 1.5 million images of hotels across the world, thanks to support from the public.

The idea for the app is merging of ideas between researchers at Washington University and the Exchange Initiative, a non-profit formed by Nix Conference and Meeting Management. A few years ago, police sought the help of Nix staff to identify the specific hotel where a victim was trafficked.

“It was a photo that they had from the internet,” Nix Principal Molly Hackett said. “One of the girls in our office knew exactly what it was.”

The Exchange Initiative created the app, which Hackett said is widely used by her staff. But use of the app isn’t limited to her line of work.

“It’s great that everyday citizens can do everyday things by taking a picture help stop sex trafficking,” Hackett added.

The internet has made it easier for criminals to engage in sex trafficking and child exploitation, Sgt. Adam Kavanaugh with St. Louis County Police said. Kavanaugh is the deputy commander of the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

He said detectives are noticing an increase in younger victims.

“The average age, when we talk to our girls that we deal with, most of them have started at 13, 14 years old. And most of them have been sexually abused as children,” he said.

He said he is optimistic the new technological tool will make a difference.

“I think it’s going to be crucial to help us identify not only where they’re at now, but where they’ve been at. Which is something we need – that’s helps with prosecution.”

TraffickCam is free and available for iPhoneiPads, and Android devices.

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsy - unapologetically responsible for adultery - is honored with a sefer Torah - "The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

Watch video!

Hi,

I just saw this clip and there are no words to describe it other than unreal.

http://matzav.com/watch-hachnosas-sefer-torah-at-philadelphia-yeshiva-in-honor-of-rav-shmuel-kamenetsky/

What is wrong with our chareidi world today is everything literally upside down? I just don't understand it, there is a woman continuing to commit adultery because of him and they write a sefer torah to honor him. Am I missing something here??


========================
Below is a letter from Rav Steinman to Rav Kaminetsky


kvod harav 
do you recall any letters sent from e'y rabbonim to the hundreds of  hachnasas sifrei torah a year that take place in the USA or is this some political eishes ish letter??????

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Esti Weinstein: Channel 10 Reporter says that the Secular Media has maligned Chareidim with false accusations and reporting

Arutz 7   Channel 10 news reporter Avishai Ben-Haim, who works very closely with the haredi community (but is not haredi himself), thinks the press has committed a grave injustice in its coverage of the suicide of Esti Weinstein, saying that "basically everything you've heard about haredi wickedness in this matter is untrue."

Weinstein was found dead in her car on Sunday after years of estrangement from her Gerrer hassidic family, and her story continues to make waves in Israeli public discourse. The circumstances surrounding the tragic event have sparked debate about the Gerrer hassidic community, its social norms and practices (especially as pertains to the treatment of women), and attitudes within religious circles to those who leave religious observance.

Weinstein left a will explaining her reasons for taking her own life and a tell-all book about her life story. She accuses the Gerrer community of forbidding her children from having any contact with her once she left religious observance, and cites the disconnect from her family as the main cause of her emotional suffering, leading to her suicide. Many in the press have put the blame for the tragedy squarely on Weinstein's family and the Gerrer hassidic and wider haredi community in general. The veteran channel 10 reporter thinks this is grossly unfair.[...]

Ben-Haim opens with his impressions from the funeral itself:

"This is what injustice looks like. We came to Esti Weinstein's funeral today expecting to meet her evil and cold-hearted family and instead met a noble and sensitive family, we heard a eulogy from a loving haredi father and an explanation and request for forgiveness from a hurting haredi daughter.

"All of this means that we need to rewrite the entire story of the past 48 hours and tell the truth: everything you heard about the wickedness of the haredi side was a lie."

The Channel 10 reporter then goes into detail, discussing individual claims made in the press, going point by point through the events, in chronological order:

"Something about this seemed fishy to me from the beginning. First it was claimed that the haredi family members were going to snatch the body to bury it on their own terms. I called and spoke with the family. They were shocked by the idea, 'Of course not! Heaven forbid!'. I don't need to tell you that no one actually tried to snatch the body.

"Next they said that Weinstein's daughters broke off contact from their mother because of a cruel order from the Admor [leader of a hassidic community]. I called again, I spoke with the family, and they swore that there was no directive from the Admor and explained that this was not a religious issue at all, merely a human one. The girls were angry at their beloved mother who simply up and left them one day 7 years ago. Hence the estrangement.

"Afterwards they said that the haredim are demanding she be buried outside of the cemetery walls. I called, spoke with the family, and they were shocked by the idea, 'she was a good mother, we love her. We never had any such plans.'

"Then they said that they don't intend to sit Shiva [week-long mourning period in Jewish law] for Esti. I called, spoke with the family, they were shocked by that idea too. No such thing had ever crossed their minds.

"Next, they said that the family is demanding a small and quick haredi funeral that will demean Esti's memory. I called. Spoke with the family. They said this was untrue and that they had every intention of honoring their late mother's wishes, having already made clear that they have no problem with there being flowers and songs at the funeral [as per Weinstein's instructions in her will].

"Then the courts were petitioned to make sure that the funeral will be held with a secular atmosphere (not that songs and flowers really make a funeral 'secular'), and it was reported that the secular side won as the court ruled against the haredi family. But the haredi family never sent anyone to the hearing to contest any of this and wasn't even part of any fight. They didn't want to fight about this and there was no need to 'beat them' in court, for as I've already written, the family wanted to honor Esti's non-haredi wishes.

"After that, it was claimed that the family was boycotting the funeral, which would indeed be the height of cruelty. But then... well, then we saw a large group of haredi Gerrer hassidic women arriving at the funeral, sobbing, and sad Gerrer hassidic men, all standing to the side, quietly and politely, and waiting for the time when they will be able to take part in the proceedings. We heard the father eulogizing his daughter, and the eldest daughter Raheli eulogizing her mother. No haredi told Raheli that she wasn't allowed to speak in this kind of forum because she's a girl.

"It was then that I understood that this week, a grave injustice was committed among the Jewish people." [...]
Ben-Haim's post ends with a quote of the full text of Weinstein's eldest daughter's eulogy, excerpts from which were available before the funeral and were published by Arutz Sheva.

Rav Yitzchok Isaac Sher's view of marriage - the importance of human love (regarding criticism of Gerrer Takanos/Esti Weinstein)

I first published this on 3/30/15. I am republishing this because of the current discussion of the Gerrer Takanos in connection to Esti Weinstein. The criticism of the Takanos is discussed in detail in the following article by Prof. Brown
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The following is from   Kedushah: SEXUAL ABSTINENCE IN HASIDIC GROUPS by Prof Benny Brown. The pamphlet from Rav Scher is found on Hebrew Books
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The Hazon Ish probably wrote this letter in Bnei Brak in the early 1950s. At approximately the same time and in the same place, another Litvish rabbi, R. Yitshak Isaac Sher (1881–1952), the head of the prestigious Slobodka yeshivah, wrote an article entitled Kedushat yisra’el [the Holiness of the Jewish People], which dealt somewhat more bluntly with the same sensitive issue.[...]

Rabbi Sher begins by drawing attention to an apparent controversy between Maimonides and Nahmanides, the former condemning sexual desire and the latter condoning it as holy. Rabbi Sher concludes that there is no real disagreement between them: sexual desire, like all other physical desires, is natural and should be condemned only if it is indulged by way of excessive pleasures, but it is holy when it functions within the boundaries set by the Torah, namely, in order to fulfill the commandment of onah. He proceeds to analyze the views of Rashi and Nahmanides on the matter, concluding as follows:
One does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation. [. . .] In truth, he who performs coition without ardor violates [the commandment] “her duty of marriage [= onah] shall he not diminish” (Ex. 21:10).78 [. . .] Just as it is prohibited to abstain altogether from the act itself, which is the husband’s duty of onah in respect of his wife, so it is prohibited to refrain from physical intimacy with her, which is what the wife craves—to enjoy her physical intimacy with her husband. This entails desire that goes beyond what is required for [the performance of] the act itself. The husband is commanded to satisfy her desire as she pleases. And see [B.] YevamotOne does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation. [. . .] In truth, he who performs coition without ardor violates [the  commandment] “her duty of marriage [= onah] shall he not diminish” (Ex.21:10).78 [. . .] Just as it is prohibited to abstain altogether from the act itself, which is the husband’s duty of onah in respect of  his wife, so it is prohibited to refrain from physical intimacy with her, which is what the wife craves—to enjoy her physical intimacywith her husband. This entails desire that goes beyond what is required for [the performance of] the act itself. The husband is commanded to satisfy her desire as she pleases. And see [B.] YevamotOne does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation. [. . .]

 In truth, he who performs coition without ardor violates [the commandment] “her duty of marriage [= onah] shall he not diminish” (Ex.21:10).78 [. . .] Just as it is prohibited to abstain altogether from the act itself, which is the husband’s duty of onah in respect of his wife, so it is prohibited to refrain from physical intimacy with her, which is what the wife craves—to enjoy her physical intimacy with her husband. This entails desire that goes beyond what is required for [the performance of] the act itself. The husband is commanded to satisfy her desire as she pleases. And see [B.] Yevamot 62 and Pesahim 72, where it is stated explicitly that whenever she desires and yearns for her husband—this is her [rightful] onah, even if it exceeds the prescribed minimum.
Rabbi Sher goes on to attack the hasidic understanding of kedushah:
I have heard that some pretended God-fearing and pious men [mithasedim] take great care to fulfill this mitsvah for the sake of Heaven, without any desire.80 Such a person would busy himself half the night with Torah and prayer [. . .] and only then, aftermidnight, would he come home and wake up his wife, prattle to her placatingly in order to fulfill this mitsvah. [Naturally,] she allows him to do with her as he pleases, and he is proud of having managed to fulfill this commandment without [succumbing to] the evil inclination, [namely], without any impure lust. He later wonders why the sons he has produced in this way have turned out to be wicked or stupid!81 Surely, the reason is the false belief that it is wrong to perform the commandment [of onah] with desire, whereas [the truth is that] a son conceived without desire turns out to be foolish, as is well known, and when intercourse takes place without the wife’s full consent or desire, that is, when she would rather be asleep and is angry with her husband for disturbing her and doing with her as he pleases rather than as she pleases, then he violates a Torah prohibition, and his sons will possess the nine evil traits82 of the rebellious and sinful.
The Children of Israel, he contends, are so holy that they are able to “delight themselves in the Lord”84 through eating and coitus, just as Adam had done before the Sin of Eden.85 For the Lord wishes his children to “delight themselves in His goodness.” This is why they are able to perform physical acts “for the sake of Heaven,” while those who endeavor to shun the physical pleasure of sexual intercourse end up diminished mentally and spiritually. For even if they declare in advance that they intend to perform the sexual act only in order to fulfill the commandment of onah, they know all too well that when it comes to the act itself, they are bound to be distracted from their purpose by the inevitable stirring of their natural desire, and they end up performing the whole act lustfully.86 To convince the hasidim that his understanding of the matter is correct, Rabbi Sher appeals to their view of themselves as heirs to the kabbalistic tradition by adducing a series of quotations from the Zohar to corroborate his position.[...]

As an adherent of the Musar movement (musarnik), which developed in the Lithuanian yeshivot in the late nineteenth century and called for ethical self-improvement, R. Sher acknowledges that the couple achieve sanctification by ensuring that during coitus they focus on nothing other than the ethical and religious significance of the act. He takes this significance to be (a) the creation of a new human being, which resembles the work of God; (b) the union of male and female in the image of God, by which, “through the power of desire,” they come to resemble Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; and (c) a means of enhancing their love for each other, which is not only a virtue in itself but also serves to enhance their love of God and of their fellow human beings. He admits, however, that the virtue of love “is not properly developed among us [the haredim]. Those who have claimed in their learned books that marital love is contingent on transient factors (ahavah hateluyah badavar)”88 are wrong. “For surely, this love is natural, and it is a mitsvah to enhance and develop it properly,” which includes the husband’s obligation to satisfy his wife whenever she desires him.

It is for this reason, Rabbi Sher contends, that when the couple come together, the husband must address his wife in a way that conveys not only “awe, piety, and chastity,” but also tenderness, affection, and erotic love (agavim). He clearly anticipates the reader’s astonishment at the latter: “The
point of erotic love seems difficult to understand,” but he quotes the Zohar and Maimonides to bolster his argument that the husband must speak to his wife explicitly even “about her [physical] beauty.”

It is for this reason, Rabbi Sher contends, that when the couple come together, the husband must address his wife in a way that conveys not only “awe, piety, and chastity,” but also tenderness, affection, and erotic love (agavim). He clearly anticipates the reader’s astonishment at the latter: “The
point of erotic love seems difficult to understand,” but he quotes the Zohar and Maimonides to bolster his argument that the husband must speak to his wife explicitly even “about her [physical] beauty.”

Without expressly mentioning the Gerer hasidim, he condemns what he calls the bad habits arising from a common misunderstanding of the ideal of kedushah:
As for the bad habits that many of them have adopted in error, believing that in order to maintain themselves in holiness they must  refrain from talking to their wives—the rabbis must strive to make them realize that this kind of holiness is the very essence of impurity [. . .] and that the husband must speak to his wife, addressing her with wondrously affectionate words of placation. [...]

R D Hartman: "God must not be our top priority"


Donniel Hartman, the head of an educational powerhouse, argues heretically that the great monotheistic religions are fatally flawed — by an obsessive focus on God that overwhelms what should be our prime imperative, to live decent, moral lives. [...]

Hartman argues that ethics — living honestly and decently — should be the first priority of the religious human being, of all human beings. Most of us would agree with that.

He laments that in Judaism, as in all the great monotheistic religions, the obsession with God has been allowed to take intolerable precedence over that prime ethical imperative. Many of us would agree with that, too.

Most controversially, however, he asserts that the exaggerated, over-elevated focus on God in religion is actually not the fault of the religious, the practitioners, but of monotheism itself. “I go further than most critics of religion,” Hartman acknowledges, setting out his challenge during a heartfelt interview in his office at the institute, “because most critics of religion say that the problem is religious people who distort it. I don’t think that’s the case. I think there is an auto-immune disease embedded in religion. There’s something flawed in the system that the system doesn’t fully understand. I don’t think religion understands God’s impact on people.”

So, no, Donniel Hartman insists his resonant call to put God second isn’t some superficial provocation. Rather, it’s issued out of a conviction that “the more we put ethics first, the more I am a religious person” and the less that God is “a destructive force in our lives.”

Does that make him a heretic? Maybe, he allows, if it’s heretical to admit “that religion has flaws, and that religion can fail.”

He’s not calling to close down religion; far from it. Like the subtitle says, he’s trying “to save religion.” But, again, “if criticism is heretical, which it can become, then yes, I’m proud to be a heretic,” says Hartman. “But in our tradition, criticism is the greatest sign of love.” [...]

I think God wants to be second, or at least one reading of Judaism wants God to be second. God didn’t come into this world for self-aggrandizement. It was in order to create a different type of human being, in order to elevate this world. But unfortunately, through God intoxication and God manipulation, the idea of God becomes a catalyst for evil. God intoxication is where our devotion to God is so all consuming that we no longer hear or see the needs of others. God manipulation is where we transform God into the private advocate for our particular needs and agenda. The devil quotes scripture. It’s there. It’s embedded. I’ve grown up witnessing how the devil’s chapters impact people.

Then it is heretical, your book. You’re saying the flaw is in the religion. I have a very close relative who is very Orthodox, very sincere, who always says it’s not the religion that’s to blame. The religion is wonderful. Religion is a code of life that, if people followed it, the world would be a wonderful place. It’s the people who are distorting and unbalancing. That’s her view. But you’re saying, No. You’re saying that built into what the religious think they should be doing is a tendency, a focus, that will make them bad.

That’s correct. There are really two religions. And we have to make a choice between the two. And part of what this book is about is forming a narrative for the religious life which places ethical responsibility at the center. That’s why I quote so many sources. There are two narratives. Narrative A starts with the Akeda (the Binding of Isaac) or starts with Lech Lecha, where it says, If you want to walk with me, you have to disassociate from anything that you care about. Anything. That a love of God is all-intoxicating. And God wants to see: Are you willing to fundamentally submit everything that you care about, that you love, that you think is good, to Me? Kill your son. Discriminate against a non-Jew. And I’m on your side because you’re the chosen ones. It goes on. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai exits out of the cave and says to people that all they should be doing is loving God, thinking about God, reflecting on God’s word. What do you mean, you’re working the field? When he sees farmers, he destroys them in the name of God. That is God intoxication.  [...]

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Esti Weinstein - formerly religious Gerrer chasid - commits suicide because of the loss of her daughters she abandoned

Arutz 7   As ever more reactions pour in throughout the haredi world in the wake of the suicide of Esti Weinstein--who was found dead in her car in Ashdod after a week-long search--in a tragedy that has garnered much attention in the wider Israeli public due to its backstory, a more important perspective, that of Weinstein's estranged children, has now been offered.

Weinstein left the Gerrer hassidic community and religious observance several years ago, leading to a complete break of contact with 6 of her 7 daughters, in an estrangement allegedly enforced by Gerrer community leaders.

The late mother left a note and a will on her computer, explaining that the cause of her decision to commit suicide was the estrangement from her children. She also left a book detailing her entire life story in which she makes severe allegations against Gerrer leaders and norms, and asked that it be disseminated in every way possible, mentioning in the will that she wants "as many "Dossim" [slang term for religious or haredi people] to read it." [...]

The husband of one of Weinstein's daughters had the following to say: "You can't blame little girls who get angry at their mother in this kind of situation. It's a normal thing, a human story, something that happens the world over. I don't think it's anything that should be brought in support of any one side's agenda."

In response to the question of whether the daughters broke off contact with their mother for religious reasons, the son-in-law said that "they broke off contact because of this unsolved mystery: a mother who abandons her children. It's very possible she had right on her side, it's very possible that no one was right here, the bottom line is you can't blame the angry reaction of daughters abandoned by their mother."

Ben-Chaim also published a eulogy written by one of the daughters:

"Mother, we will remember and never forget the years in which you raised us. We well always remember the way you walked with us glowing with pride, seven amazing girls."

"We will remember and never forget the sudden, bitter day when you abandoned us. We begged for explanations, we asked to come with you, but you turned your back on our feelings. Little girls who were just abandoned one day and have no mother to explain things to them and pick up the pieces."

"Mother, mother, we will always remember and not forget. I understand there are things we couldn't take back, but now you can watch us from above, listen, and understand everything that the people around us didn't. But the most important thing is that you forgive us now."

What One Rape Cost Our Family

NY Times   WHEN people hear about campus sexual assaults, they rarely understand the true impact such an attack has on the survivor and her family. But I do.

In the spring of 2013, my daughter, Willa, was raped by a fellow student at her college in Washington, D.C. A freshman at the time, she did not tell anyone until a year later. Meanwhile, she developed post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, depression and an addiction to alcohol. And while she chose not to file criminal charges — out of fear of being traumatized again — she struggled so much after the attack that ultimately she had to leave school.

It would be impossible for me to describe in the space of a newspaper article the emotional toll this took on Willa and our family: the grief we felt that our child’s body (and soul) had been violated; the anger that we (and the college) could not protect her; the fear that our once spirited, ambitious daughter might never be more than a shell of herself. But I can offer, by way of illustration, a financial reckoning — collateral damage that demonstrates the devastation, and that rarely comes up in the national discussion on campus sexual assaults.

The financial burdens of an attack can be overwhelming. A 2014 White House report noted that the cost to survivors (of all types, not just college students) can range from $87,000 to $240,776 per rape. While the numbers are staggering, they seem abstract until your family is the one paying the bills. In our case, they were on the higher end of the range, and included the following:[...]

There were other expenses too, but the ones I’ve listed add up to $100,573.63 out of pocket, and approximately $145,000 in lost wages, for a total of $245,573.63. That’s roughly the same as the cost of four years at one of the nation’s top colleges.

I should be clear: I would have done anything, made any financial sacrifices, to see the light again in my daughter’s eyes (which is there now, thanks to Willa’s hard work and the many caring professionals who helped her). I recently went through a divorce, however, and my former husband and I are writers, not investment bankers. These are big costs for us; at times, we had to borrow from family or retirement funds, or use proceeds from the sale of the house we gave up in the divorce.

We’re fortunate to have top-tier health insurance, which helped defray many of the costs. But this is still an extraordinary amount of money, and I often wonder how survivors from less privileged backgrounds recover from these attacks. It’s not a hypothetical question.

According to a 2015 survey at 27 universities by the Association of American Universities, 11.7 percent of all students (including men) reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact, by force or incapacitation, since enrolling at their university, and the incidence among undergraduate females was 23 percent.

These costs are enormous for any rape survivor, not just those who suffered a campus sexual assault. For our family, they continue to accrue. [...]

Monday, June 27, 2016

Oh Boy: Was A National Security Position Given As Payback To A Clinton Foundation Donor?

Townhall   This is a very strange article since it is based on reporting done  by the "leftwing newsmedia" ABC which several commentators have stated have ignored anything negative about Hillary.
================================
It seems as if anything is up for sale if you give enough money to the Clinton Foundation, even positions on a national security intelligence board that has access to top-secret information. Meet Rajiv K. Fernando, a big donor to Clinton, Democrats, and the family foundation, was given a spot on the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board in 2011, even though he had zero experience in the field. He has since resigned from the board after ABC News launched an inquiry into his appointment. The first thing that they asked for from the State Department was his resume. Emails obtained by Citizens United after a 2-year Freedom of Information Act battle with the State Department showed that Clinton’s staffers were instructed to “stall” and “protect the name” of Mrs. Clinton from the news organization’s review of this appointment. One member told ABC, “We had no idea who he was.”

ABC News’ Brian Ross was threatened with arrest for merely asking Fernando about his appointment during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He added that Clinton promised Foundation donors would not be given special treatment during her confirmation hearings to become secretary of state (via ABC News) [...]

Trump campaign falsely claims that State Department gave $55.2 million to Laureate Education after hiring Bill Clinton

Washington Post   “As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton laundered money to Bill Clinton through Laureate Education, while Bill Clinton was an honorary chairman of the group. Clinton’s State Department provided $55.2 million in grants to Laureate Education from 2010-2012. Laureate thanked Bill for providing unbelievable access to the Secretary of State by paying him off $16.5 million. This is yet another example of how Clinton treated the State Department as her own personal hedge fund, and sold out the American public to fund her lavish lifestyle.”   –Donald Trump campaign, email response to Hillary Clinton’s speech, June 21, 2016
The Trump campaign sent out a series of email and Twitter responses during Hillary Clinton’s speech attacking his business record, and among them was this claim that came to our attention. As usual, the Trump campaign did not respond to our request for supporting information. During his speech the next day attacking Clinton’s record as secretary of state, Trump repeated the charge that Clinton treated the State Department as her “personal hedge fund” with no evidence to back it up, either.

This talking point traces back to information from Peter Schweizer’s book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” In one chapter, in discussing Bill Clinton’s role with Laureate Education, Inc., Schweizer describes a “Clinton blur” between the activities of Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. But critics, including Schweizer, have not been able to prove quid pro quo.

The short answer here is: Laureate Education Inc. did not receive $55.2 million in grants from the State Department while Bill Clinton was being paid by the company. This talking point actually conflates two organizations that are independent of each other, and is worth unraveling for our readers. So we explored it.[...]

Why do some blame rape victims while others blame the rapist?- Why do some people shoot the messenger and protect the transgressor?

The following article offers an interesting explanation of why there are diverse reactions in a wide ranger of situations in labeling who the good guy is and who is the bad guy. Why are some rape victims supported and others are harshly attacked for causing problems for the rapist. Likewise - why do someone people attack the messenger when it is pointed out that some rabbis and even gedolim have committed significant crimes and others view it as a acting according to what halacha and thus G-d wants? The authors argue that it depends largely on whether the prime value is group unity or the focus on the well being of the individual



IF you are mugged on a midnight stroll through the park, some people will feel compassion for you, while others will admonish you for being there in the first place. If you are raped by an acquaintance after getting drunk at a party, some will be moved by your misfortune, while others will ask why you put yourself in such a situation.

What determines whether someone feels sympathy or scorn for the victim of a crime? Is it a function of political affiliation? Of gender? Of the nature of the crime?

In a recent series of studies, we found that the critical factor lies in a particular set of moral values. Our findings, published on Thursday in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, show that the more strongly you privilege loyalty, obedience and purity — as opposed to values such as care and fairness — the more likely you are to blame the victim.

These two sets of values have been the object of much scholarly attention. Psychologists have found that when it comes to morality, some people privilege promoting the care of others and preventing unfair behaviors. These are “individualizing values,” as they can apply to any individual. Other people privilege loyalty, obedience and purity. These are “binding values,” as they promote the cohesion of your particular group or clan.

Binding and individualizing values are not mutually exclusive, and people have varying degrees of both. But psychologists have discovered that the extent to which you favor one relative to the other predicts various things about you. For example, the more strongly you identify with individualizing values, the more likely you are to be politically progressive; the more strongly you identify with binding values, the more likely you are to be politically conservative.

Our animating insight was that these two clusters of values entail different conceptions of victims. Proponents of individualizing values tend to see a dyad of victim and perpetrator (a victim is hurt, a perpetrator does the hurting). Proponents of binding values, however, may see behaviors as immoral even when there is no obvious victim — for example, the “impure” act of premarital sex or the “disloyal” act of flag burning — and may even feel that doing the right thing sometimes requires hurting others (as with honor killings, to pick an extreme example). So we hypothesized that support for binding values would correlate with a greater tendency to blame victims. [...]

Consistent with our previous findings, the more participants endorsed binding values, the more blame they assigned to victims and the less blame they assigned to perpetrators. But we also found that focusing their attention on the perpetrator led to reduced ratings of victim blame, victim responsibility and references to victims’ actions, whereas a focus on victims led to greater victim blaming. This was surprising: You might assume that focusing on victims elicits more sympathy for them, but our results suggest that it may have the opposite effect.

Victim blaming appears to be deep-seated, rooted in core moral values, but also somewhat malleable, susceptible to subtle changes in language. For those looking to increase sympathy for victims, a practical first step may be to change how we talk: Focusing less on victims and more on perpetrators — “Why did he think he had license to rape?” rather than “Imagine what she must be going through” — may be a more effective way of serving justice.