There are times, rabbi, when I wonder if you even think about what you post.There are "pitfalls" in ALL evidence, including eyewitness testimony – even "kosher" eyewitness testimony from two "kosher" witnesses.Jewish courts were well aware of this problem.But what you also quite obviously do not know is that eyewitness testimony is far more likely to be wrong than scientific evidence.In the cases cited by the New Yorker, a factor was missing from the analysis of the evidence. How was that factor restored?By doing a SCIENTIFIC experiment.Now lets bring this over to abuse.Are you suggesting that physical evidence of sexual contact with a child should be disregarded?Are you suggesting that well established psychological patterns verified by literally hundreds of studies carried out over more than 50 years are invalid?Are you suggesting that forensic data collected should be ignored?There are pitfalls in everything, rabbi, including listening to any beit din, including trusting the honesty of any rabbi, including relying on two "kosher" witnesses.Perhaps you need to spend a little more time learning and a lot less time blogging about issues you know little about.
NPR ran a story on this and the guy's defense attorney thought he was guilty. He suggested taking a plea deal for life in prison to which the guy said that he is completely innocent. What the show is a broken system and that it is important to provide real checks and balances into the legal system. The failure was also that the appeal boards did not bother to read the new evidence presented to them and they rushed to execute this man.I agree that this illustrates the need to be very thorough before deciding that some one is guilty. Witch hunts lead to false convictions.
Shmarya said... There are times, rabbi, when I wonder if you even think about what you post.=================Wow I am just amazed at how you came to all these conclusions about my deep seated ignorance and all around stupidity. How did you know? What gave me away? The title I gave to the post? the video or your deep sensitivity and wisdom and love of your fellow man?If you were a regular reader of my Blog you will note that I rarely present my views - but I do allow and encourage a variety of views - even those that say negative things about me. I do a lot of thinking - brain storming - out loud so that I can benefit from the knowledge and insights of others. Contrary to some other bloggers who shoot their mouth off as if they were some sort of divine oracle - I really don't think I have all the answers. I am even willing to admit I don't know everything and that I make mistakes. I do think that we have some severe problems in our society which need to be addressed with our eyes and hearts wide open - guided by intelligence and wisdom - including secular wisdom. We need to do something different - the question is what and how to accomplish it.Your post contains some very important and valuable issues. Why don't you put away your blazing six guns and let's discuss the issues rather than my obvious incompetence - which I would have admitted if you had asked!Stop being so insecure and judgmental - I would in fact like to listen to your observations - but please don't scream and there is no need for insults. You didn't even need to kick down the door - it was open.The answer to all of your rhetorical questions is "no. I am fully in agreement with what you have said - when the insults have been removed from your post.So why don't we start over again? I am really not so insensitive and uncaring as your comments imply.
I apologize.The title of your post implied endorsement, and that is what I reacted to.
Shmarya said... I apologize. The title of your post implied endorsement, and that is what I reacted to.===============Apology accepted.I am trying to develop protocols for a parent or teacher or rabbi who has received information that leads him to suspect abuse - what do you do?My working assumption is that the prime concern has to be protecting the children. But even if you call the police - there are many issues that need sorting out.What would you recommend?
How to investigate suspected child abuse:Well you have to do a full inquiry.Start with getting a timeline of the events and the basic model of Who, What, when, where , how and why.Who are the parents and people who have immediate contact with child?Who are his teachers? Who is the accused and who are his close contacts?You must assess and get a profile of the child. What are his behavioral patterns? Has his eating habits and sleeping patterns changed?Did the accused become very close with the victim prior to these accusations? Often pedophiles will shower the victim with attention and gifts to lure them into their control.I am going to shorten this thing up and tell you that the perp targets a victim who is usually more vulnerable and introverted. The victim becomes even more withdrawn and that behavior may be incorrectly attributed to his shyness.The perp may seem to "love children". (one serial killer who was a clown was well loved in his community)False Accusations:Are the parents naturally overprotective?Did they plant the suggestion in the child's mind?Does the accused appear to be "strange" or "different"? Idiosyncrasies may be misinterpreted as being a sign that one is predator that may not be the case. Predators usually appear to be very normal.Not being very religious may be a good sign. Often those who appear very frum are masking or trying to stop their disease. Just because someone appears to be very frum that should not be a factor in weighing evidence.These are just some ideas to consider.
Which is exactly why our great Sages do not allow "Scientific evidence" or "circumstantial evidence" in Beis Din.
Joseph said... Which is exactly why our great Sages do not allow "Scientific evidence" or "circumstantial evidence" in Beis Din.============Bava Metzia (83b): R’ Eleazar the son of R’ Shimon once met a Roman official who job was to catch thieves. He asked him what he was looking for? … He suggested that perhaps the Roman official caught innocent people and let the guilty escape. The Roman official said he did the best he could but he was required by the kings command to catch thieves. R’ Eleazar told him how to catch thieves. R’ Eleazar told him to go into a tavern at the fourth hour of the day. “If you see a man dozing over a cup of wine you should asked him what his profession is. If he is a scholar than you can assume that he woke very early for his studies. If it is a worker than he must have gotten up early to do his work… If he doesn’t have these excuses for being tired than you should arrest because he is a thief.” Rav Eliashiv (Kovetz Teshuvos 3:231): … Question: If someone is sexually abusing a boy a girl in circumstances which we don’t have the means to stop him from continuing his evil deeds – is it permissible to notify the government authorities? Answer: Rashba (3:393) states: “My view is that if the witnesses are believed by the judges, then it is permitted to punish the accused financially or physically depending upon what the judges think is appropriate to be beneficial to society. Because if we insist on doing only what is specified by Torah law and not to punish except as specified in the Torah – the world will end up destroyed. That is because the elementary rules of a functioning society will be breached and consequently it will be ruined. It is an established practice to punish those who physically harm others…Every community makes judgments in order to preserve it and this is true in every generation and every place according to what is perceived as the needs of the times. For example we see (Sanhedrin 58b) that Rav Huna, who was in Babylonia, would amputate hands as punishment. Therefore these judges you referred to who punished the accused not in accord with Torah law – if they saw the need for it to preserve the society – they have correctly acted according to the halacha. This is true when there is a specific order from the king as we see in the case of R’ Eliezar the son of R’ Shimon bar Yochai in Bava Metzia (83a).” We learn from the Rashba’s words that when action is needed for the well being of society (tikun olam), that the Jewish sages have the ability in every generation to act to preserve the society and to repair breaches – even when there isn’t a specific order from the king. The Ritva (Bava Metzia 84a) has stated that this order of the king is “if the king says to capture certain criminals, even though the government will judge without witnesses and warning [as required by Torah law] and there is no functioning Sanhedrin [as required by Torah law] – it is still permitted since he is acting as the agent of the king. Since it is the law of the land to execute criminals without the testimony of witnesses and warning - as it states [Shmuel 2’ 1:5-16] that Dovid killed the Amalekite ger who had acceded to Shaul’s request to kill him -the agent of the king is like him.” However according to what has been said, in a matter which is needed for the well being of society (tikun olam), it is not needed to have been ordered to act by the king [in order to act as needed]. However, it is permitted to notify the government authorities only in the case which it is certain that the accused has been sexually abusing children. Informing the authorities in such a case is clearly something for the well being of the society (tikun olam)...
"However, it is permitted to notify the government authorities only in the case which it is certain that the accused has been sexually abusing children."Rav Eliashev says only where it is "certain." Scientific and circumstantial evidence are virtually never certain.As far as the Bava Metzia quoted, it is a Gemora not necessarily psak halacha. I doubt R' Eleazar is advising us to base guilt upon going into a tavern at the fourth hour of the day. And in any event, he was advising the gentiles a better method than their current practice, not advising Klal Yisroel how to change their practices in determining guilt.
I am trying to develop protocols for a parent or teacher or rabbi who has received information that leads him to suspect abuse - what do you do?My working assumption is that the prime concern has to be protecting the children. But even if you call the police - there are many issues that need sorting out.What would you recommend?Assuming you're referring to accusations of abuse or of specific recognized signs of abuse, call police.You need to look no further than Joseph to see what will happen if you don't.
Shmraya, The pointing out of the truth stung you so badly that you stooped to an ad hominem?
Joseph –Your "truth" hurts children.It is also a crime in many areas to follow that "truth."You'll be reading more about that in the not too distant future. Hamyvin Yavin…
Shmarya,Incorrect. The Emes (truth) is never a crime, at least insofar as the Torah is concerned.And as we know, Torah law takes precedence.
Joseph said... Shmarya, Incorrect. The Emes (truth) is never a crime, at least insofar as the Torah is concerned. And as we know, Torah law takes precedence.==============Joseph I am surprised at your position. I have posted many sources including Igros Moshe, Rav Eliashiv, Rashba, Beis Yosef etc etc. That says that where following strict Torah procedures will harm society than the rules are changed. "Yerushalayim was destroyed because they insisted on only Torah laws."
R. Eidenshohn, My preceding point was if the Torah law and secular law are at odds with each other, Torah law takes precedence.I also note, once again, many of your quoted sources (including Rav Eliashev) insist on "certainty" of guilt being ascertained prior to involving secular authorities. (As I highlighted in a previous comment on this thread.)
My preceding point was if the Torah law and secular law are at odds with each other, Torah law takes precedence.But that is not the halakha.The law of mesira is a rabbinic law. Dina d'malchuta dina applies unless secular law contradicts a specific Torah law.Past that, at best what you have is a safek: is the person a child sexual abuser or not, is the child a victim of sexual abuse or not?If the child is a victim, empirical evidence is that the abuser will also abuse other children.We also know empirically that victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to commit suicide, God forbid, and abuse drugs and alcohol.If we were to follow the halakha as Joseph (incorrectly) understands it, we would be condemning many children to this suffering and some of them to early death, and we would be doing that for a halakha that is d'rabbanan.Rabbi Elyashiv and several other poskim view a child sexual abuser as a rodef. The halakhot of rodef are d'orita.Add to that the opinions of many poskim that the prohibition of mesira does not apply in a western democracy, and add to that opinions like Rav Moshe Feinstein, who if memory serves is stricter on mesira and yet clearly ruled police must be called in cases of child abuse. (Rabbi Eliezer Silver did the same, BTW.)In other words, people like Joseph are protecting child abusers and sofek child abusers in order to keep a halkha d'rabbannan, while ignoring a d'orita (or safek d'orita) halakha thereby ensuring more children will be raped and abused.Call this what you will. I call it sick.
Call it what you want; you are wrong.And I find amusing how you become a momentary fan of R. Eliyashev if you think you can miscontrue his psak to your liking.
all it what you want; you are wrong.Really? And why would that be? Do you actually have a halakhic answer to what I wrote?And I find amusing how you become a momentary fan of R. Eliyashev if you think you can miscontrue his psak to your liking.I am in no way a fan of RYSE. YOU brought him as support for your position and I responded to that.
Joseph said... Call it what you want; you are wrong. And I find amusing how you become a momentary fan of R. Eliyashev if you think you can miscontrue his psak to your liking.====================Joseph which yeshiva did you learn in? You are taking a principle that one must follow Torah even if it against truth as if there is such an absolute rule.There are examples of such a principle - but there are also plenty of examples when following the simple Torah position causes harm and an alterantive needs to be found. For example the Minchas Yitzchok and others allow you to call the police when you find that someone is driving without a valid license. There is a presumption that not having a license is proof that you are a dangerous driver. There is no need to give the person a driver's test with two witnesses - just call the police.The Temple was destroyed because Rav Zecharya insisted on following the halacha and he was condemned for it.You obviously haven't read through Rav Eliashiv's teshuvas nor the other ones dealing with child abuse. Aside from R' Klein - there is no requirement to have two kosher witnesses to call the police. This is so even if it means that the children are taken away and given to non-Jews and the father goes to jail.There are at times when Torah law conflicts - but when there is a need the scientific or circumstantial evidence is taken seriously as a motivation to find other paths to reach the appropriate conclusion.Rav Sternbuch told me yesterday that the first thing is to be concerned about mishpat, tzedek or yoshrus. He said in the name of Rav Abramsky that when dealing with a case of aguna the first thing the rav must ask is whether the husband is alive or dead. "First use your seichel to establish what the facts are - and then you go to the halacha." He rejected views of people like Rav Klein who ask first "are there two witness" and if not drop the case.In sum, theoretically you are right but that is not the way gedolim have always acted and it is not what you will find in the teshuva literature. Concerning the real world of gedolim, Shmarya is clearly correct. In the case of child abuse you must first establish whether there is child abuse and then act in such a way to stop that abuse. The halacha needs to be means but the goals are established by what saves the child. If the halacha prevents you from helping the child then you find a gadol who will be able to accomplish this goal.
Rav Eliashiv (Kovetz Teshuvos 3:231): However, it is permitted to notify the government authorities only in the case which it is CERTAIN that the accused has been sexually abusing children.Merriam-Websters:Main Entry: cer·tain Pronunciation: \ˈsər-tən\Function: adjectiveEtymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *certanus, from Latin certus, from past participle of cernere to sift, discern, decide; akin to Greek krinein to separate, decide, judge, Old Irish criathar sieveDate: 13th century1 : fixed, settled [a certain percentage of the profit]2 : of a specific but unspecified character, quantity, or degree [the house has a certain charm]3 a : dependable, reliable [a certain remedy for the disease] b : known or proved to be true : indisputable [it is certain that we exist]4 a : inevitable [the certain advance of age] b : incapable of failing : destined —used with a following infinitive [she is certain to do well]5 : assured in mind or action [I am certain they are right]The point of my comments solely concern the point whether it is permissible to involve the secular authorities. That is the extent of my comment. As far as helping the child, I absolutely agree with your statement that "If the halacha prevents you from helping the child then you find a gadol who will be able to accomplish this goal."
The point of my comments solely concern the point whether it is permissible to involve the secular authorities. That is the extent of my comment. As far as helping the child, I absolutely agree with your statement that "If the halacha prevents you from helping the child then you find a gadol who will be able to accomplish this goal."And what about the other dozen or hundred children that molester will sexually abuse if left free?How do you intend to help them?By "certain" RYSE means that we are dealing with a case where there is solid evidence of abuse, not a case where a child's behavior alone raises suspicions.What RYSE does ***NOT*** mean is "we need 2 kosher eidim in order to call police."If you don't believe me, go ask him.
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