Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Child molesting & being the Chosen People

by Rav Pinchos Yehoshua HaCohain [The is one of the essays being published in my book on abuse] He discuses the underlying issues which are unique to the Orthodox community concerning abuse]

The author has served as the Rabbi for 3 major frum Eastern seaboard communities, He has paskened Shaalos re: Shabbos, Taharas Hamishpocho, Kashrus, etc.) for 25 years. Received s’micha from Rav Yosef Breuer, ZTvK’L, Rav Shimon Schwab, ZTvK’L and L’Havdil Bain Chaim l’Chaim the Novominsker Rebbe, Shlita. Over the past 15 years, he has become heavily involved with the following issues in the Frum community: Substance abuse, Kids-at-Risk, domestic abuse and violence, and treatment of trauma and molestation . He receives shaalos and requests for guidance from all segments of the Chareidi community from around the globe.

We are the Chosen People! Our relationship with Hashem and the world about us is unique. The Torah tells us this again and again. We also affirm and reaffirm this reality daily in the traditional prayers that we recite in the synagogue.

Our “choseness” is manifest in the uniqueness of our spiritual mission. The Rambam (Yesodei HaTorah 5:1) writes that every Jew is commanded to be a source of sanctification of God’s name in this world and to avoid profaning it. We fervently pray and proclaim many times daily that we should merit this achievement. When we adhere carefully to our mandate and live in accordance with the Torah, then the beauty of our lifestyle is manifest and is the envy of all nations (Devarim 4:6). Consequently, it is extremely painful and unpleasant for me to have to point out and highlight some flaws and failings of Hashem’s special children - the Torah community. I believe that I speak for all the contributors to this compendium when I state that it distresses us when we discuss the topic of abuse in our communities. We are overwhelmed by pain as we criticize our holy brothers and sisters, and this pain is twofold. Simultaneously, we feel intense shame and embarrassment at the tarnishing of the Jewish people’s image as a holy people, and we feel pain for the torment of the victims and their families who are suffering because of our collective neglect. This cacophony of pain torments us and prompts us to speak out. Our goal is to raise the awareness of our people and hopefully encourage actions that will rectify the situation and end the disgrace to G‑d from this colossal misrepresentation of Torah values.

In shocking disbelief we hear and read the reports about the depravity of pedophilia occurring in our midst.Every fiber of our beings mightily protests, “THIS CANNOT BE SO!” It is inconceivable that perpetrators of such heinous behavior could live among us – and could even be our friends, parents, teachers and rabbis.” We instinctively think, “And could it be so prevalent? Impossible! Surely, it must only be an isolated incident!” However, sadly, to our great dismay, this is not the case.

In our discomfort, we can recall reading and hearing about distressing reports even in our Orthodox Jewish publications which contradicted the notion that only very few isolated incidents occur or that there are no significant societal problems. The following was printed 10 years ago in the Jewish Observer: [the rest of the article is in my book on abuse]

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