Monday, September 3, 2012

Heard from the Shomer Emunim Rebbe

About 15 years ago I had the opportunity to spend a number of hours with the Shomer Emunim Rebbe. The following are samples of our conversations. 

I asked him what it was like being a rebbe? He replied, "In the old days when the chassidim needed the rebbe it was good. But now the rebbe needs the chassidim and it is not so good."

He mentioned a well known rebbe in Europe who had one daughter but many sons. The rebbe made all his son's rebbes but not his son-in-law. His daughter was hurt by this and asked her father why he didn't make her husband a rebbe also. The father replied, "Your husband is a tremendous talmid chacom. A talented leader - he will have no trouble with parnosa. Unfortunately your brothers are not so smart or talented - at least they can be rebbes.

I have a son who at that time was a strong kanoi. I asked the Rebbe what I should do about it. He told me to bring my son to him. The Rebbe talked with him - and my son criticized one group after another as not being "proper Jews". The Rebbe pulled out a sefer - Derech Mitzvosecha" and pointed out a paragraph. It said, "You can not be a kanoi if you enjoy it. Being a zealot is only for those who find it distasteful." My son lost all interest in criticizing other Jews at that meeting and totally changed his perspective for the good.

79 comments :

  1. so how can such a tzaddik have a granddaughter raped by his son, in his house, under his nose, over years? Some say he had prophetic gifts, but he was unable to save a girl aged 8-17 from her molester, in his very house?

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    1. prophetic abilities doesn't mean that the person knows all that is going on - even amongst true prophets. Having spent much time in his house - which is not small and is not a single story structure - he was not involved in babysitting or supervising the household. Many cases of incest are not known to the whole family.

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    2. So you were in his household at the time of the facts?

      The judgement denying early release to the perpetrator says the young girl cried out to people around her, and no-one would hear her. So the rebbe was there, his grand-daughter suffering right next to him, and he could not have rachmunes for her?

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    3. Brad - the rebbe certainly wasn't a prophet. In addition, a prophet only know specific things which Hashem tells him - think of it like having a phone line to G-d: only when He calls is their communication.

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    4. Brad - I don't know the full details of this abuse case. I don't know what it means she cried out. I don't know the reaction of those around. Nothing unusually happened while I was there. You seem focused accusing the grandfather of being guilty of deliberatley letting his granddaughter be abused. That simply is not true.

      The son is a sick individual and got what he deserved. Most people - especially at that time - did not think abuse occurred in good families and could readily interpret facts in other ways or just simply deny them.

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    5. The son did not get what he deserved. The will grants him equal status with the other brothers in the yerushah of becoming a rebbe.

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    6. You know what hey say about having prophesy these days...

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  2. If you were around his house 15 years ago, you should have heard about the trial, which took place at that time (see the documents linked in the other thread).

    the granddaughter was taken away from her father's house, (why?), (as were all her siblings (why?)) and placed in foster care with her grandfather. So I suppose that he was legally responsible for this child. Yet, he let the abuse go on over years. But this is not all:

    The will of the Rebbe was opened on Motzei shabbat and he determined that this son, this "sick individual" as you say it, should be a rebbe, like his brothers, and that they should wait for him to come out of jail (due in may 2013) to start "rebbe-ing".

    So definitely he wants to give this "sick individual" a position of honor and power. I am quite certain that a "sick individual" does not belong in a place where he has power to live out his sickness.

    Furthermore, this girl's father, another son of the rebbe who, according to his will should also become a rebbe, was not able to care for his children. Should a rebbe really entrust his hassidim to
    a) a man who is not able to care for his children, so that they are placed with foster families
    b) a man who rapes his niece aged 8-17(kedarkah we lo kedarkah)

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    1. Actually we had a basic and irreconcilable disagreement prior to these events being publicly known and I had no connection to him when the son was arrested and I have had no contact with him since.

      Please read the above post and see what he said about being appointed a Rebbe. His chassidim are not automatically transferred to his sons. What do you think a rebbe is and what priviliges does he have?

      It is interesting to note that his father appointed himself rebbe - at a time when rebbes are all basicially inherited titles. His father got alot of flack in the chassidic world because of that. The Shomer Emunim Rebbe also had a long drawn at dispute with his brother in law - Toldos Aharon Rebbe as to who should replace his father despite the existence of a will that specified his brother in law. He said he had a dream in which his father said he changed his mind.

      He is not the only one in the world who thinks that a perpetrator should be gainfully employed.

      A world famous surgeon who molested kids - should he be allowed to save lives? With appropriate safe-guards for his clients?

      Bottom line he was a very deep and complex individual and a real pleasure to talk with. Trying to put him into a box is not easy or accurate.

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    2. Having a dream that his father changed his mind and he should be the rebbe is real believable.
      Now If the appointed one had a dream saying he should give the it over and he does then I would believe it.
      There is a major difference between a surgeon and a rebbe, a surgeon is always supervised and is only trusted to do a specified job (cut open and extract / fix). The surgeon's job is not to even keep the patient alive during the procedure that is what the anesthesiologist is there for.
      If he wanted to give him a job give him a job not a place of leadership where he can do the same thing

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    3. I would not trust a world famous surgeon who molested kids and let someone else save lives in his place... There is a limited number of places for surgeons in hospitals, they don't need to take the molesters...

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    4. You are saying what you would do if there was no need for him - but if the surgeon served a real need - would you allow him to work with proper safeguards? Or do you think a person should rather die or be crippled than allow an operation by a pedophile surgeon?

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    5. Well, surgeons tend to work in hospitals where they are employed. They do not just pop up in an operation theater to "save a life".

      As a hospital, I don't think I would employ a surgeon who is molester....

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    6. "He is not the only one in the world who thinks that a perpetrator should be gainfully employed."
      This sentence is hard to believe. Gainfully employed - as a rebbe! Wow. He needs a job - make him a rebbe! And that's OK with you!!!

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  3. I think a rebbe has a position of absolute power in his court, like the guru of a cult, lehavdil. So if someone craving girls aged 8 is in such a position of power, there are chances that he will be able to get them and that the victims will be silenced, and no-one, not even their parents, will stand up to defend them, the way it happens with abusive cult leaders...

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    1. If you define it that way - I agree 100%.

      However most of the minor rebbe are not viewed that way and it is simply a status but not empowerment.

      But even the Satmer Rebbe didn't have absolute power. I remember an article in the NYTimes describing some of his chasidim breaking into his bedroom and smashing his wife's mirrors because "es past nisht"

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    2. First, it does not at all look as if the appropriate safeguards where taken. Second, it does not at all look as if he did appropriate t'shuva, i.e. openly admitted his sin, appeased the victim until she accepted his excuses, etc.

      Second, even giving a position of honor without power to someone who abuses young girls is inappropriate. And, by the way, I suppose he also crossed plenty issurim in halacha, like nidah, like having intercourse without being married, yichud, etc.

      If he was mechalel shabbat, (or served in the "evil zionist" army?) he would not be given this position of honor. So why should equally bad transgressions of halacha be accepted?

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    3. Well, really, there is no reason to worry according to halacha, especially once he is a Rebbe. His hassidim can give him their 8-year-old daughters to marry.

      According to halacha it's permitted, the parents will be happy to oblige, no one will tattle on them, and they do not believe in the justice system of the evil zionist state anyway, so there is no inyan of Dina deMalchuta dina either...

      Whether he will have to divorce them as soon as they become too mature in order to take a new one or whether he can have several wives (or pilagshot) in parallel is open to discussion...

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    4. ..and as long as those girls are not told that there is a world outside where underage marriage is not acceptable, they will even be happy with their lot (if I understood the considerations of the blog owner in the thread about abuse not always causing PTSD al right)...

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  4. am i missing something here? the recently deceased rebbe appointed his son - who is incarcerated for incest - as one of his successors?

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    1. Yes, this is what you can read here

      http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/139021/All-Sons-of-Shomrei-Emunim-Rebbe-ZATZAL-to-Serve-as-Rebbes.html

      and
      here
      http://www.kikarhashabat.co.il/%D7%A0%D7%97%D7%A9%D7%A4%D7%94-%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%95%D7%90%D7%AA-%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%99-%D7%90%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D.html

      and also in other places...

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    2. and this is being understood how?

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    3. Depends if you are a hussid of shomrei emunim or not.

      If you are a hussid, the girl is a pritzeh and shiksa and spread lushen hora about the poor, innocent uncle. But fortunately, the true hassidim and their Rebbe did not believe the roshedike meisses of the evil zionist court, and the uncle's name remains unblemished. (Of course, the testimony of a woman cannot be believed, and the uncle has a chezkat kashrut, so she has to be shut up and thrown out.)

      If you are not a hussid, you wonder whether this anything to do with religion or whether this is a cult where every evil is permitted, as long as the outer signs of the group are kept up...

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    4. oh, so all of the chassidim and their leaders believe the man is innocent and worthy of being crowned as one of the next leaders. i get it.

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  5. What was your "basic and irreconcilable disagreement" with him? Why did it prevent further contact?

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    1. How did you become acquainted with him in the first place? How long were you in contact with him?

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    2. Most of the choseidim do not believe the son did it, they say the Zionists fabricated the case against him and you cannot accept a testimony of a woman.

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  6. Four items should be mentioned
    1)the major arson to the beit yako haysan s hool
    2) the selling of 90 apartments , after he said tbey were sold key money. He lost in court.
    3) recently calling obama a black dog( in morasha mag) which was widly reported in america

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  7. Interesting comment from a reader on the Kikar Hashabat website (#3):

    מבירור שערכתי הוא רצה להתגרש מאשתו והיא רצתה את הילדים ופינטזה עליו סיפור איום ונורא על מעשיו בילדיו...

    הוא יכל לטעון שהיא משקרת, אבל לא רצה למסור את אישתו לבית משפט.

    האדם פשוט צדיק.

    יוסף הצדיק גם כן היה בבית הסוהר בגלל אשת פוטיפר... הוא יכל לטעון שהיא משקרת, אבל במדרש כתוב שלא רצה לספר לשון הרע...

    על כזה אדם אתה מעיז לדבר כך?

    תתבייש לך.

    הוא צדיק גדול

    Another comment there:

    לידיעתך הרבה אנשים חפים מפשע יושבים בכלא על עניינים כאלו, כל ילד או אשה יכולים לבוא למשטרה ולספר סיפור מצוץ מהאצבע בגלל שמישהו גייס אותם כדי לחסל את הבן אדם, ואחרי הסיפור - בלי שום הוכחה - יש מיד כתב אישום, ואם הבן אדם לא מצליח להוכיח שזה לא נכון - הוא הולך לכלא. ועכשיו לך תוכיח....

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    1. The story about the divorce is certainly completely wrong:

      1) it was not about his daughter, but about his niece

      2) Another commentator on Chadrei Charedim said he is still married. This is fact you could easily check out.

      therefore, this person here just wanted to state that he believes he is innocent, but knew nothing about the case and ran to spread lashon hara about the victim and the perp's wife...

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  8. I thought rebbe-ing was something individuals like the "Goldenegater" rebbe does, not someone with real yichus.

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  9. I take exception to the doctor molester analogy: The flaw of the surgeon is not directly related to his medical competence or his surgical integrity. If you want to use a surgeon analogy it would have to be someone whose sin was deliberately using a non-sterile instrument, or an anesthesiologist who let a patient die because he was busy on the phone with his stockbroker.

    unrepented rape is fundamentally incompatible with being observant let alone being a worthy religious leader. the added idea of safegaurds is absurd in this context. The essence of being a rebbe is being someone who can be trusted. A rebbe who needs a shomer isn't worthy to be a rebbe. It is like appointing an unrepentant embezzler as a gabbai tzedakah with a shomer or appointing a grave robber to a chevrah kadishah with a shomer.

    I hope he doesn't get a single follower. But even if he doesnt, there is a problem with a rebbe who designates such a son in his will.

    I keep coming back to the ham sandwich question. Would his father have appointed him if was a known fresser of ham sandwiches. Yet aroyos d'oraisa is worse. and rape of a child adds dimensions of not being able to repair the damage. Even if we accept the claim that PTSD is not operative, the reputational damage to those girls in that world is all but impossible to repair.

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    1. "unrepented rape is fundamentally incompatible with being observant let alone being a worthy religious leader. the added idea of safegaurds is absurd in this context. The essence of being a rebbe is being someone who can be trusted. A rebbe who needs a shomer isn't worthy to be a rebbe. It is like appointing an unrepentant embezzler as a gabbai tzedakah with a shomer or appointing a grave robber to a chevrah kadishah with a shomer."

      If he repented would you still have a problem?

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    2. thanks so much Yerachmiel Lopin. Very well and clearly said. Wishing you much Hatzlacha!

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    3. Dear Daas Torah, we cannot forget that by definition a perpetrator deliberately tramples on everything that is Holy to us, and literally makes a mockery of those of us living in a value frame of Torah and morality.

      Perpetrators will talk the talk about how children are our future, and fear of Heaven is the only thing that counts, and even about how mortality is so important, and secretly they act as if it's all just a big joke.

      Thus in order for us to accept that this individual has done Teshuvah, we would need to see him at least owning up to the gravity of his sins, and accepting his current well deserving low status in Am Yisroel that resulted of his actions.
      So I would need to at least hear a public apology from him, and he refusing to become a Rebbe because he just doesn’t feel it is right to the public given the fact that he knows his sorryful state.

      If the above hasn't happened, I feel quite certain he hasn't done nearly an adequate amount of Teshuvah.

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    4. agreed - but if he does do the above - would you allow him to be a rebbe?

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    5. Rabbi Eidensohn, you seem incredibly coy about your own opinion. You must be aware how your post implies the deceased Rebbe to be down to earth and even somewhat admirable. Describing him as "complex" and "a pleasure to talk to" is irrelevant in the context of his support for a convicted perpetrator. Do you believe that a convicted rapist can be a Rebbe? Instead of posing cute rhetorical arguments can you please tell us if you believe this particular individual capable of assuming the mantle of religious - spiritual and moral - leadership?

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    6. Actually this goes back to the gemora concerning Rav Meir and his rebbe - elisha ben Abuya.

      If we are dealing with information - I have no problem with a rapist or murderer being a professor or source of information or doctor with proper safe guards. Accept the truth from all sources - Rambam Shemona Perakim

      However if we are dealing with a rebbe as your attachment to G-d as explained in various chassidic writings then this individual is not a candidate - even if he does teshuva shleima.

      My point was to identify what the point of contention is and why a molester might be different than one who cheats on taxes or eats a ham sandwich. The issue is very muddled in the minds of most people.

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    7. The additional issue is if the Rebbe viewed his son as innocent despite widespread belief to the contrary - would that prevent him making his son a rebbe?

      The halacha is that a teacher can be fired based on unceasing rumors that he is a molester and surely he is not to be hired. If someone is firmly convinced that the rumors are false - can he hire the suspect as a teacher? I don't have an answer to that question.

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    8. Rabbi Eidensohn, you seem incredibly coy about your own opinion.

      =================
      Actually I have expressed agreement with opposition to his son being a rebbe in a number of comments.
      ===============================
      Daas TorahSeptember 3, 2012 1:31 PM

      If you define it that way - I agree 100%.
      ================
      Daas TorahSeptember 3, 2012 2:07 PM

      agreed
      ================

      agreed - but if he does do the above - would you allow him to be a rebbe?

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    9. As an answer to your question, “if we do know for sure he did a complete Teshuvah would I oppose him being a rebbe?”
      True Balai Teshuvahs have so much to offer us. Bamokom Shbal Hatheshuvah Omdim, ein Tzadikim Gemurim Yecholim Lamod.
      The problem is though that regarding this issue the words "he did Teshuvah" have been bounced around so so irresponsibly. In addition, I do believe it really is difficult to do an adequate Teshuvah in this case, because of the harshness of the crime, and because somehow the psyche of perpetrators seem to have so much resistance to taking responsibility for their actions.

      So yes, IF he did a real teshuvah, I can see a scenario where he really doesn’t want to become rebbe because he feels he doesn't deserve it, but somehow pp just gravitate to him because they are drawn by the purity his teshuvah has produced. Thus somehow, against his will he finds himself with a following-ship, and uses the opportunity to teach them what he has learned, and how he has grown for his ordeal. And thus he can even end up in his new position really bringing the whole community forward regarding this issue of molestation

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    10. "The issue is very muddled in the minds of most people." ??? I think most people would agree that a Rebbe is far more than a professor and that a convicted and unrepentant rapist is not worthy or capable of being one. The only "legitimate" question here is if the man is indeed innocent. Then again, I would still question the judgement of one who denies the validity of the court to the extent of proclaiming a convicted rapist as the next leader.

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    11. In the case at hand, the perpetrator still pretends he is innocent and was ready to forgo early release in order NOT to do t'shuvah... and his supporters treat him like a hero (or martyr) for it.

      So I think there is a fundamental flaw in the structure of those groups, that favor hypocrisy and discourage honesty. They want to believe so badly in the innocence of their own that, ipso facto, they prevent them form owning up to their misdeeds and doing t'shuva.

      This happens over and over again: take the cases of Wallis (baby-shaker), markowitz (child-starving mom), etc.

      So I think if they are really intested in religious principles like honesty, etc. they should do something about it, starting with the leaders. I think this Rebbe did his son no favor by naming him as one of his successors, because he blocks him in a situation where he will not be able to do t'shuva...

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    12. Brad -- you're a voice of reason in this. Thank-you for articulating these points so well.

      I would add Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin to that list of names. I wonder if the velt's desire to make him a hero coerced him into not pleading guilty.

      More of the same: tragic and stupid.

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  10. And now you have the Viznitzer rebbe saying that he is not a real rebbe and those who want a real rebbe should go to his uncle in Monsey.

    http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=44148

    I am not a real rebbi

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  11. The raped girl is the daughter of the rapist sister... she was divorced and returned to her fathers home. The victim gave a lo g shocking interview to an israaely paper.
    Shlrtly after she was smuggeled out of tbe country on a false passport.
    Today she is happily married near boston.

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  12. I remember his distruction of the beis yaakov hayashan in 1975. He couldnt lea e his house for fear of lynch. Thats when he fled to beni brak.

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    1. What is this about? What is beis yaakov hayashan? The neighbourhood? Or a school? or a synagogue?

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  13. While I think it really is sad that the Rebbe couldn't accept the fact of his son being a perpetrator, (and perhaps even Rebbe-ing us through that by showing us how a G-d fearing person can reacts to such a tradgedy in a rectified manner,) I do feel however that we should not wholesalely dismiss all the Malos of the Rebbe because of this. It is childish to believe that the Rebbe somehow needed to know the truth(via prophecy, or even via the fact that he was holy,)and if he didn't, (or was in denial about this,) he thus needs to be totally dismissed as a holy person.
    I think this story just once again points to our nation's fallen state regarding this manner; and we should take the opportunity to examine why this is happening, and how can we correct this issue.

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    1. Can you trust someone for Eitzot when he is so blind regarding his own family?

      Can you trust someone for Rachamim, when he does not hear the cry of a young girl, his own grandchild?

      can you trust someone for honesty when he encourages hypocrisy?

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    2. if he has a solid chazaka of success for you - then the answer is yes

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    3. Well, then it is a question of definition what a Rebbe means to you.

      If he is just a tool to obtain something you want (parnassa, shidduch, health, - I don't know what they sell...) then your answer might be right, provided there is any link between what he does and what you obtain - let him do his work, provided you get what you want, don't look at the details.

      If you turn to him because you want to be closer to the torah and her values, closer to g-d, I don't think it is a good idea to see someone who promotes right the opposite: hypocrisy instead of honesty, cruelty instead of rachamim, blindness instead of insight.

      See, you might say that you don't care whether a composer is immoral, provided he writes beautiful music, you are just interested in the product - but in the case of a Rebbe, those values are part of the product itself.

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    4. this is the question raised by Rav Meir's continued connection to Elisha ben Abuya. Similarly can you read a Torah commentary written by an apikorus?

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  14. This is a sick version of No Child Left Behind. see my take on it: http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/no-rebbes-child-left-behind-in-jail/

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  15. Rabbi Eidensohn, you ask a good question about whether I would approve of him as a rav if he did tshuvah. I was being coy by implying tshuvah in his case might make a difference in my opinion. I was in part reacting to the fact that tshuvah is perennially invoked where it is clear that even the minimum requirements of tshuvah are not being met. Of course the whole term "doing tshuvah" is a misnomer since frum Jews believe that we can not even know if the tshuvah is accepted. But for purposes of discussion, we will focus on the known aspects that are visible. And even then folks can feign the required emotions. In fact what is easier is knowing that someone did not do tshuvah. We are all familiar with absurd claims of tshuvah.

    But OK, there is the question of a case where to all appearances someone did complete tshuvah. I know that in the current rebbishe culture such a person wouldn't have a chance of being accepted as a rebbe because we have developed some Jewish version of papal infallability. But as far as I am concerned IF i was persuaded of his sincerity it would not be impossible for me to consider him as a leader. But this is such a purely theoretical possibility. Given the hideous extent of Yaakov Roth's crimes the burden of proof would be even higher. But if for example a misguided mistreated 14 year old inappropriately touched a child of 12 once, I could believe he was rehabilitated soon enough to believe tshuvah is possible.

    Frankly, your question is useful, because it highlights the absurdity of the abundant claims that ploni did tshuvah.

    As for R. Meir and Elishah, R. Meir was learning from him, not accepting him as a rebbe. If you will, he was treating him as a professor. Obviously there is a poignant relationship as well. But no current rebbe could abide having their status be as nothing more than a professor.

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    1. agree totally with you.

      I have a problem however. One of the greatest gadolim of recent years was the mesader kiddushin for one of Mondrowitz's children. This is a rav who was asked what to do about a child molester and send simply - "have him castrated." A rav I know was shocked to see him there. He said, "I have to be here because I am a relative of his - but why are you here?" The Gadol answered, "He has done teshuva."

      I heard this a number of years ago and I still haven't been able to digest it. To me it is much more problematic than the case of the Shomer Emunim's son.

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    2. I agree with you that "he did t'shuvah" is complete nonsense in the case of Mondrowitz. On the other hand: the children did not molest (as far as we know), so why should the Rebbe not be mesader kiddushin for them.

      If you say he shouldn't, you really make the children pay for the father's sins - also a phenomenon which is wide spread in the hareidi culture, but against torah values. the torah, as opposed to babylonian culture, states this very fundamental principle of justice: that everyone should pay for his own sins.

      So no, I don't really think this example is worse than a condemned sex crime perpetrator being named a Rebbe...

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    3. My understanding was that the gadol was there - not in spite of Mondrowitz but rather because of Mondrowitz. I would agree with you that the children - if they deserved the kavod - should get it even with such a father. But the assertion was that he had done teshuva and therefore deserved the kavod of having the gadol being mesader kedushin.

      My point being that if you have claims against a rebbe who claims his son innocent - in spite strong evidence. Then what do you do with a universally acknowledged gadol who claims that Mondrowitz did teshuva?

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    4. right, this is very worrying. And it also is worrying that they do not check further into these assertions. That's what I meant when i said they spread blindness instead of insight...

      By the way: Yerachmiel Lopin found out that the perpetrator is going to "inherit" the community of Beith Shemesh. could be that Beith Shemesh is the dumpster for all the thugs of this community, so they should have a fitting Rebbe...

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    5. In the contemporary haredi lexicon, "tshuvah" when applied to molesters has acquired a new meaning quite apart from its halachic origins. Roughly speaking, it means the fellow has privately acknowledged he did something wrong and is sorry and claims he doesn't do it any more. The old fashioned requirement that one take reparative action toward victims is largely gone, or it can be fulfilled with fairly superficial gestures. The confirmation of this trend is Mondrowitz's ability to claim he did tshuvah.

      Underlying this trend is the community's inability to openly confront child sex abuse. They are practically begging molesters to give them an out. When for some reason they can't make believe nothing happened the fallback is instant tshuvah.

      Rabbi Eidensohn, I am not sure if this trend is more disturbing than the shomrei emunim story. It is plenty shocking. I understand your take that the shomrei emunim family is obviously dysfunctional. However, it is shocking that the rest of their hasidish world is not condemning the recent developments. I can not believe the Vishnitzer Rebbe made a shivah visit to Yaakov Roth. Their is no halachic obligation of nichum aveilim for a rashah. Moreover, by making that visit he is giving him an haskamah of sorts. If he was R Aryeh Levin, zatzal, who visited any Jewish prisoner in jail I wouldn't say that. But the Vishnitz visit was not a mitzvah, it was rebbishe politics. So, yes, the Roth business is just as shocking as your "gadol's" being mesader kidushin for Mondrowitz.

      Incidentally, I dealt with this at length when I began blogging with a drashah I wrote as a fable given by my invented character a R. Menachem Besdin. I would encourage folks to read it (though I confess it is too long and still in need of more editing. In it I deal at length with the question of tshuvah both fake and real. http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/rabbi-besdin-attacks-agudah-a-fable-that-should-be-the-truth/

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    6. Good points. Proper teshuva requires placating the victim. In the majority of cases - no attempt is made by the abuser. Furthermore there is no obligation of the victim to forgive - no matter how sincere the teshuva.

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    7. RDE:

      What makes you confident Mondrowitz did not do teshuva? Perhaps he did. And if the godol specifically said he did, then you should rely on this godol -- who you yourself acknowledge is one of the greatest gedolim today -- who personally verified teshuva was done.

      And you correctly acknowledged he, like anyone, can do teshuva and that we must all accept a proper teshuva.

      So the kovod was correctly due to Mondrowitz for he is a big Baal Teshuva.

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    8. teshuva has some basic elements 1) have you ever heard that Mondrowitz confessed to his crimes? 2) have you have heard that he said he won't do it again? 3) has he asked forgiveness from his victims? 4) has he offered to pay for therapy or other compensation?

      The answers to the above clearly indicate he has not done teshuva and I don't have to be the posek hador to conclude that!

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    9. The acknowledged godol hador obviously verified that a proper teshuva was done, as he said he did Teshuva.

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    10. Rav Sternbuch said about 10 years after this Israeli gadol was nifter - that Mondrowitz should rot in jail. He apparently didn't get the message that Mondorowitz had repented. In fact I haven't heard anybody - except for this one gadol - claim that he has done teshuva. The other side simply claims that Mondrowitz is innocent.

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  16. you begin to question his status as a gadol and perhaps question the very criteria that we use for determining who is a gadol.

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    1. These things are not black and white. While I don't believe the son should be Rebbe, and I am upset at what the Rebbe did, I don't feel we therefor need to /or should disiss the Shomrim Emunim Rebbe totally.
      Even Eli Hakohen had blind spots when it came to his sons. That doesn't mean he wasn't a holy man who served Am Yisroel, and Am Yisroel benefited from him.

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    2. i have no doubt that the corruption of eli's sons in the mishkan played part (repeat part) in the breakdown of society. this breakdown is what lead to the switch from shoftim to a kingship.

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    3. i'm not sure what your point is. that the solution to a problem fails doesn't mean that the problem didn't exist. eli's sons were corrupt (amongst other problems back then). the people demanded a change. the change didn't work out? so does that mean that the demand was wrong?

      similarly if the admorim are corrupt (ya'ani spinka) or can't deal with the corruption in their courts, then that system will break down sooner or later as well. what will come after that? who knows?

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    4. @dt: you are right to point out that "ideal" judaism never existed in reality and that we had to contend with corrupt institutions in the times of statehood and independency, before galuth...

      So those not so righteous rabbis might be right in just pursuing their own interests: perhaps this is what judaism is all about: keep up a distinctive cultural identity, but don't bother about moral values...

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  17. The land the beir yakov was built on was ownership disputed. The SE rebbi lost in beir din and secular courts. They built a beutiful school. The day before the dedication the SE sent his rhugs and disd cery extensive damage. He couldnt leave his house w/o police escort. Soon after he left for beni brak. The school is near the mir yeshiva.
    Hedri haradim publish a kabala that SE was paying a PR company that he should be in the papers , as other rebbis do.

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  18. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Hasidic dynastic and their rebbes, as well as far too many yeshivas and their rosh yeshivas/owners, are replicas and relics of the defunct old European monarchies on which they modeled themselves but now are outdated and showing their ineptitude in an educated society.

    Just as the old monarchies collapsed under their own outdated ways and methods, not to mention their accumulated corruption and nepotism, the modern day wannabe pseudo "monarchies" and "monarchists" in the Torah world have passed their glory years a long time ago.

    As far as Torah-true Yiddishkeit is concerned, the Halacha is that Torah does NOT go by yerusha (meritocracy), see the Rambam and others, that the Keter Torah, which is the only thing that counts in this 2000 year old golus, has always gone to the most capable Torah scholars. (the keter kehuna and keter of malchus of Bais Dovid also are inherited -- but these are NOT rebbes nor are they rosh yeshivas -- in spite of what the rebbes and rosh yeshivas want the world to think, that they are "like" "kehuna" and "malchus" which they are NOT.)

    The Rebbes of old only came along when the Torah rabbonus based on merit rabbinate in Europe was weakened by wars, dislocation and the Haskala. But now that the Torah has "returned" to Eretz Yisroel (including the Americans who flock to Eretz Yisroel to learn and to support its Torah institutions) and so many meritorious Torah scholars are to be found, the inherent weaknesses and shallowness of the old-time Hasidic-Rebbe system are more evident than ever.

    The Torah world should finally rid itself of the money-hungry, power-hungry, even sex-crazed and incompetent rebbes of any ilk, just as Rav Shach finally walked away from them, and make sure to follow only the most qualified Talmidei Chachomim with impeccable moral and personal credentials as the leaders of Klal Yisroel.

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  19. I'm sorry, I'm missing something fundamental here.

    Rabbi Eidensohn you're leading the charge in your writings about proper responses to abuse. You're doing incredibly impressive work in this area.

    And now you, of all people, are discussing a person who commited repeated acts of abuse, and who apparently never did teshuva, and who still denies the actions, and who apparently encourages all sorts of stories to defend his innocence, and you, of all people, are defending his being made a Rebbe?

    Why should we ask "what if he did teshuva" or any other hypothetical question? He didn't do teshuva. And his appointment as Rebbe puts him in a position of power that's classicly abused by people with a tendency to abusive behavior.

    You, of all people, should be waving the flag of concern here.

    Of course, he was made Rebbe in Ramat Beit Shemesh, in the neighborhood of the Taliban mother, the burka women, the girls who were snuck to Canada, the men who spit at non-chareidi religious women and girls, and more, so maybe it's a fitting appointment....

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    1. I don't approve of such a person being a rebbe. I just raised the other issues for discussion. I am a Litvak so I don't really relate to the chassidic concept of Rebbe. There are relevant questions regarding teshuva - not necessarily in this case - but it is a major question. Abuse on one level is absolutely evil - but on another it mediated by a wide range of factors which need to be considered.

      I agree with your final paragraph also.

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