Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aguda's twisted path regarding abuse & calling police

There have been a number of anonymous individuals who have repeatedly insisted - without offering any evidence  - that the Aguda's policy on reporting child abuse is identical with Rav Eliashiv's written teshuva on the matter. For someone who has patience and a strong stomach - I would suggest rereading the posts linked below. 1) Rav Eliashiv deals with the issue of tikun olam as a justification for allowing things such as reporting molesters to the police. He mentions the issue of mandated reporting but then says that he is dealing with the issue of tikun olam. 2) He clearly states that if it is definitely a case of molesting that the police can be called. 3) He says the police can be called if there is raglayim ledavar ( reasonable evidence). The Aguda claims that only a rabbi can determine whether the level of raglayim ledavar exists (Rav Eliashiv does not write that). 4) He does say if there is no raglayim ledavar then the police can not be called. 5) The Aguda claims there is no conflict between having a rabbi decide whether you can go to the police and the requirements of mandated reporting. Rav Eliashiv does not say that and says that if there is justification from tikun olam to call the police one does not need the heter that the king ordered it (mandated reporting) in order to call the police. He indicates based on the Ritva that it is necessary to obey the mandated reporting law if it exists which is also the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein based on BM 83

Rav Eliashiv's position


Rav Eliashiv(Kovetz Teshuvos 3:231): 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 83b) 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

Rav Eliashiv(Kovetz Teshuvos 3:231): 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 in a case where there is no proof that this activity is happening but it is merely a conjecture or suspicion, if we permit the calling of the authorities - not only would it not be an improvement (tikun olam) - but it would destroy society. That is because it is possible that allegations are being made solely because of some bitterness the student has against his teacher or because of some unfounded fantasy. As a result of these false allegations the accused will be placed in a situation for which death is better than life – even though he is innocent. Therefore I do not see any justification for calling the authorities in such circumstances.

Rav Eliashiv(Nishmas Avraham 4:208-211): Rav Eliashiv told me that there is in fact no difference in halacha between a teacher who is molesting boys or girls since in both cases we are talking about severe mental damages and danger to the public. He cited the Beis Yosef who cites the Rashba regarding R’ Eliezar ben Rav Shimon (Bava Metzia 83a) who reported thieves to the government… Regarding this Rav Eliashiv said that we learn from this that surely in the case of child abuse which is more severe then theft that it would be permitted to first report it to the principal of the school and if he doesn’t do anything to report the matter to the police even in the Diaspora.

Rav Eliashiv(Nishmas Avraham 4:208-211): Rav Eliashiv told me that it is permitted for a doctor to report the life threatening abuse to the authorities even when there is a possibility [in the Diaspora] that the child will be sent to a non‑Jewish family or institution. However the doctor is then required to the best of his ability to see that the child is transferred to a Jewish family or institution.

2008/09/child-abuse-calling-police-rav-eliashiv.html

2010/02/rav-eliashiv-calling-police-for-theft.html

2008/11/child-abuse-callling-police-harav.html

2009/11/rav-eliashivhis-rabbinic-authority.html

Agudah's Position

/2011/07/aguda-attempts-to-clarify-views-on.html

2012/05/aguda-forced-to-eat-its-words-no.html

2012/05/ny-sun-defends-rabbis-as-police.html

2012/06/da-hynes-aguda-on-collision-course.html

2013/06/missing-boat-consequences-of-rabbinic.html

2010/11/novominsker-rebbe-publicly-discusses.html

2011/08/reporting-abuseat-last-r-zweibel.html

2012/06/saving-kids-lashon-harah-high-price-to.html

2009/06/abuse-calling-police.html

2012/06/pure-torah-law-vs-pragmatic-weeding-out.html

2012/06/rabbi-zwiebel-aguda-child-abuse.html

2012/06/4-views-of-rabbinic-role-in-abuse-cases.html

2011/06/reporting-even-suspected-abuser-to.html

2012/11/r-avi-safranoffensive-article-regarding.html

37 comments :

  1. One of the links, 2012/06/pure-torah-law-vs-pragmatic-weeding-out.html
    I seem to have missed the first time around. But it is a very interesting discussion, and if it is valid for this case, it is valid for any other case in need.
    In the 1960's YU's most radical Rabbi - Emanuel Rackman, wrote about a Teleological approach to halacha. This was blasted by the Aguda of then, but it is essentially the same argument being presented here.
    About 15 years ago, I had the zchus to meet Rav JD Bleich, who is perhaps on the right wing of YU. he insisted that there is no such thing as a "teleological" halacha. But i disagree. It depends on what one's telos or ends are. If the telos is that there is no change , and no flexibility, then it is also a teleological halacha, except the telos is that you keep strictly to what the majority poskim have written.

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  2. "3) He says the police can be called if there is raglayim ledavar ( reasonable evidence). The Aguda claims that only a rabbi can determine whether the level of raglayim ledavar exists (Rav Eliashiv does not write that). 4) He does say if there is no raglayim ledavar then the police can not be called.

    So RYSE says police cannot be called if there's no raglayim ladaver. So RYSE is stating explicitly in some cases police cannot be called.

    5) The Aguda claims there is no conflict between having a rabbi decide whether you can go to the police and the requirements of mandated reporting. Rav Eliashiv does not say that and says that if there is justification from tikun olam to call the police one does not need the heter that the king ordered it (mandated reporting) in order to call the police. He indicates based on the Ritva that it is necessary to obey the mandated reporting law if it exists which is also the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein based on BM 83"

    Nowhere does RYSE, in any of the teshovs, write that one must follow the secular mandated reporting law if it it conflicts with halacha/Jewish Law. Jewish Law (such as mesira) always takes precedence if it conflicts with secular law.

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    1. Arthur do you need this statement explained to you in greater detail?

      The Ritva (Bava Metzia 83b) 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.”

      Executing a person without the testimony of witnesses and warning clearly conflicts with halacha/Jewish law. Please take the trouble of learning BM 83. What was the heter that Rav Eliezer ben Rav Shimon used to have people executed for theft based on circumstantial evidence.

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    2. Arthur perhaps you didn't realize that mandated reporting is based on "the order of the king" which is BM 83.

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    3. Rav Eliezer ben Rav Shimon expressed regret for that incident of turning in a Jew for execution for theft.

      Rav Eliezer ben Rav Shimon was only mollified after he learnt that the thief ate pork on Yom Kippur, and this deserved death.

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    4. He expressed concern - he did not retract his position. This is brought halacha l'maaseh by Maharam Shick and others. See Yeshurin 15.

      A doctor does not have to lose his license for failing to report abuse. A teacher does not have face civil suit for failing to report abuse. etc etc.

      Please show me sources that it is forbidden to comply with mandated reporting of abuse

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    5. Most unfortunately, and perhaps based on bad girsahs (per the quotes in the Rashba's teshuva), the Rashba read the story of R' Eliezer out of context and thus held that mesirah is a much broader rule than our gemaras would read, and those that would like to protect evildoers from the goyim love to cite him and similar rulings based on his teshuva (i believe the teshuva was in Teshuvot HaRashba 3:393, about a moser that the local community killed and the govt investigation relating thereto).

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  3. This is an excellent summary. The Pew Report confirms that Aguda is dying, and losing adherents. A "twisted" hashkafah, in the words of this blog, cannot long survive. Their latest two public ventures confirms their own absurdity - demanding an apology from UK Chief Rabbi Sacks, for a possible, minor slight, which he wisely ignored; and, criticizing Yeshiva Chovevei Torah, for daring to talk to Reform and Conservative rabbis. It is this pettiness that drives away so many.

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    1. Agudah and (Ultra-)Orthodoxy are GROWING by leaps and bounds according to Pew. Very high birth rate, baal teshuvos and small loss/churn of existing adherents.

      All the non-Orthodox movements are losing members. 71% intermarriage among non-Orthodox and large numbers of dropouts.

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    2. This is Tablet's summary of the report.

      "Fewer than half of Jews raised in Orthodox homes have remained Orthodox, with more than 20 percent leaving the religion altogether, according to a survey released today by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project. It’s a surprising revelation. In explaining why the Reform movement still outnumbers the Orthodox, the study’s authors write that the high fertility rate among Orthodox Jews “has been at least partially offset by a low retention rate: Roughly half of the survey respondents who were raised as Orthodox Jews say they are no longer Orthodox.” But this finding requires a caveat, the authors are quick to add: those who left Orthodoxy in droves came of age in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The 1980s and 1990s have been a lot kinder to the Orthodox denomination; fully 83 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 who were raised Orthodox are still Orthodox. It seems we have an alterna-millenial group on our hands. That, or they simply haven’t yet had a chance yet to leave the fold."

      Marvin Schick just wrote in the Jewish Press that the baal teshuva pipeline is running dry.

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    3. Tablet? Surely you jest. You cite that rabidly anti-Orthodox rag as a source!?

      The report, btw, states that those that left Orthodoxy are mostly (well over 90% of them) in the 1950s and 1960s. And they were from the left-wing of the post-war Orthodoxy. IOW, Orthodox in name and synagogue but not very religious in practice. The report says from the past 30+ years very few Orthodox left.

      Marvin Schick is unfamiliar with "the baal teshuva pipeline". Speak to Aish, Chabad, etc. It is running as strong as ever if not even better.

      In a nutshell, Ben is correct.

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    4. I have a different view of Tablet, which I think is good and balanced. And here is a similar view from Rabbi Dr. Alan Brill: http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/author/kavvanah/

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    5. I took a look at Dr. Brill's (whom I am unfamiliar with) writeup of the report and found in lacking. He failed to acknowledge the reports finding that Orthodoxy's loss occurred 50 years ago ending 40 years ago. He pretended it is an ongoing loss when the report specifically states that in the last 30+ years Orthodoxy has NOT been losing but rapidly gaining.

      And like Rabbi Eliyahi Fink wrote a few days ago, the report itself is way off base. R. Fink is very modern orthodox, and it is MO that has been losing the little that Orthodoxy might have lost. Look around? No where near the reports finding is correct regarding that aspect. Orthodoxies losses are significantly less than stated and its gains significantly more.

      It displays the typical anti-Orthodox biases found in the previous reports (from 11 years ago) from the Jewish Federation as well.

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    6. There are close to 200,000 ultra-orthodox jews between Williamsburg, Boro Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights and the surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods. And thats just Brooklyn. Yet the reports counts only 400,000 ultra-orthodox across the entire U.S. (And 200,000 modern orthodox.)

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  4. 2) He clearly states that if it is definitely a case of molesting that the police can be called. 3) He says the police can be called if there is raglayim ledavar ( reasonable evidence).

    There is a distinct difference tween 2 and 3.

    (2) "If it is a definitely a case of molesting", is of a higher level of evidence e.g. the victim himself or a bystander, than (3) where it needs to be established if there is raglayim ledavar e.g. reasonable evidence. Suggesting that Raglayim ledavar can only be established by a posek, what is the Halacha according to the messira and lashan Hara sayers in case (2) where the case is definite, shut and closed, do they concede that police must be called? If not why not?

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  5. Since so many things have a heter iskei nefoshos when there is a dire need, e.g. shinui beshabbos, al yedei nochri, lashon hara al yedei shabbos goy, messira melachutit cameras beshev veal taasse, why not find a heter of pikuach nefesh from a Rodef. Why not find a Heter for the Cameras beli yedei Yoav be'emtza, huh, huhYad Yoav itach bechol zois? Or consider Bitul beMeah cameras.

    If the cameras are left alone and to its own senses, without censoring, tampering, prescreening, having a direct line of communication to the authorities, ein kaan lo messira, velo lashan hara velo batiach, velo battata. It is said, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. A preview before disclosure is like putting it on a Burka, while in and of itself it is a roeh ve'eino nireh, without any sircha, aka Glatt, what is this chacham omed al gabov all about. Why are they so bent on having full copyrights and previews on something the Government granted to the public domain for the health and well being in protecting any and all the leiby's. Therefore, it is clear, that it has nothing to do with all the alleged lashan haras', messiras'. It is the chazir fissel in all it's glory, to protect Molesters and mafkir the victims to bury them under the rug. If you have any other explanation, then speak up now, or forever hold your peace.

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  6. Im not following This whole discussion. If i chas vesholom was molested then its a vadai to me that i was molested. So why do i need to go to a bais din or ruv ro determine if i was molested. Every person has a cheskas kashrus unless proven Otherwise. If i was carjacked. Do i need to ask the rav if i was carjacked? I know i was car jacked because i was there and that is why i need to go to the police.

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    1. Behokitz velo bachalomOctober 3, 2013 at 5:23 AM

      In mamme loshon, it is called, the proof is in the pudding. All this mei raglayim bedovor, lashan hora, messira is smoke and mirrors obfuscating and obstructing justice, veasidim liten et hadin al dmei yelodim udmei yaldoniyas shenishpechu kamayim.

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  7. Listen, Daniel Eidensohn. You don't like the Agudas decision and conclusion? That's your democratic right. You're entitled to disagree.

    But the Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel is smarter than you and your reader combined. And they decided this route and came to this conclusion.

    Chareidi Jews will by and large follow the Aguda's approach to this issue. Some will even take a more stringent position.

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    1. Smarter?! How do you know they are smarter? Many of them have not published anything from which to judge what they know. Some are there because they inherited their "gadlus" from their fathers.
      Besides, being smart doesnt count for much. There are illuim and NYC and Lakewood that would never be invited to join the Agudah.

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  8. Rav Elyashev in a 1968 din Torah had a clearer explanation of what raglayim ledavar is. The minutes of the din Torah were recently published in a sefer. Unusual patterns / signs that are consistent with abuse is enough.

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  9. Yeruchum. Who are you going to listen to ¿ a self made gadol/koton or the shulchon aruch. I think the sa is more reliable. The sa explicitly defines a rodef. Your definition is full of smoke and mirrors to protect the molesters and yeshivas.

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  10. Yeruchum. If your daughter was brutally raped by her charedi neighber. Are u going to tell her to first go to a bais din or rav to determine if there is raglayim ledavar? If your answer is yes then u are worse then a tipish midorysa and you deserve to be excommunicated .

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  11. So in summary: Rav Eliashiv, zt"l. says "Obey your local laws". The Agudah says "Don't okay the laws". Do I have that right?

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    1. Rav Eliashiv says there is no need to utilize mandated reporting because the concept is sufficient. He doesn't deal with the issue of conflict with mandated reporting. But He does acknowledge that mandated reporting is obligatory. In contrast the Aguda claims that there is no conflict between mandated reporting and having a rabbi decide when you should report and thus you don't need the local laws if you follow halacha

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    2. In my profession and in my jurisdiction the law clearly states that, as a trained professional, if I have any reason to suspect child abuse is occurring I am obliged to call the local Children's Aid service and tell them about it. How does "going to a rabbi first to see if the issue has legs", especially when said rabbi is not trained in the matter, fit in with this law?

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    3. I appreciate your categorizing this into a legitimate halachic dispute, however to me, this is evil masquerading as halacha. On a practical level has there ever been a Agudah type Rabbi who has recommended going to secular authorities and actually removing molesters from their ability to harm children. If there have been such Rabbis, can anyone provide their names and the names of the abusers? Absent such a list, I would say that R Elyashiv protects children, and Agudah Rabbis protect abusers.

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  12. If the State of New Jersey implemented a "mandatory reporting" where neighbors are mandated to report community members who park on the wrong side of the street during alternate side parking or kids who sell lemonade during the summer without reporting that for taxes or residents who don't seperate recycling garbage... you're saying Rav Eliashev would say Jews must report such Jews violating these things due to Laws of the King?

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    1. You are comparing apples to oranges. Children's lives are at stake, vechol hakodem zacha. Parking meters, lemonade and all other kinds of garbage are already taken care of.

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    2. Did you learn BM 83 regarding reporting suspected robbers who will get executed - because the kings said so. And you ask about relatively insignificant things? I don't know what Rav Eliashiv would answer to your question. Based on the Ritva he cited I would say yes. Furthermore Rav Wosner notes that goyim were given the mitzva to have a legal system - and Jews are not to undermine that system by non-compliance. Once you allow reporting of things which are not required by the Torah and that result in significant punishments that are not prescribed by the Torah i.e., jail - I am not sure what the heter is to disobey

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    3. "I would say yes."

      Really? So you would say that "Mesira" is effectively meaningless, null and void and without halachic effect? That is the net effect of what you think.

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    4. Felix you obviously have an agenda - why not stick to the facts. 1) Why did Rav Eliashiv cite the Ritva about obeying goverment laws - even when doing so results in apparent violations of Torah law? 2) Do you have a single source saying that a doctor must lose his license etc rather than comply with mandated reporting laws? 3) What do you do with Rav Wosner statement of the necessity of comply with these laws? 4) What do you do with Rav Moshe Feinstein acknowledgment that mandated reporting takes precedence over mesira?

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    5. Your interpertation of Rav Eliashev, which differs from the interpertation of Rav Eliashev by 11 of the greatest gedolim today sitting on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, is that mesira is merely an academic concept that has no halachic value.

      I vote with the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and the Gedolei Yisroel SHLIT"A.

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    6. The direct English definition of "mesira" is "mandated reporting".

      Anytime the government legally requires reporting to it another Jew, the term for that secular legal obligation can alternately be called "mesira" or "mandated reporting".

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    7. you are wrong. According to you Rav Eliezar ben Rav Shimon was a moser and lost his chelek in olam habah?! All the halachic literature based on BM 83 which says that one can comply with government demands is teaching mesira?! You are using the wrong definition instead of bothering learning the halachic literature and you come up with utter nonsense.

      I asked you for halachic sources and you come up with the English dictionary.

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  13. You cannot rule with an iron fist. The Gedoilei haDor of Eretz Yisrael as well as beis Din haGadol shebeYerushalayim are and have been NEUTRAL people, having absolutely no negia outside of the Halacha. They mostly do not have Yeshivos or Talmud Torahs, even those that did and do, all overwhelmingly ruled that priority is given to the health and well being of the children, bli kchal ushrak. Messira, is a cheap and lame excuse to shield a perpetrator next to protecting a defenseless child, and NOWHERE is it found in kol hatorah kula a case or a svara to weigh in the life of a RODEF against a NIRDAF, so much more so when the lives at stake are not even Equal. Indeed, 'may chozis dedamach simkei tfei' is applied where both lives are Equal, while the life of an innocent tinoykes shel beis rabon is 'so MUCH more Equal'. PIKUACH NEFESH whether Shabbat or Yom Hakipurim will YIELD way, MACHTERES - priority of life is given to the NIRDAF even if at the given time is al iskei momoines should he chose not to resist, lo kol sheken a defenseless child where it is al ISKEI NEFOSHOS BEVADAY. If and when chas vesholom A Yisrael is asked by goyim to hand over a jew, any jew for that matter as a korban or sair lazozel, or else, you are not allowed to do so, so how can you sacrifice the life of a child to yield in exchange of a perpetrator?
    Exploring the other defenseless shield of LASHAN HARA, we find the Arba misos Beis Din all done beferhesye no concerns for L'H', more so even a Ben Sorer Umoire that is 'NIDAN' only al shem sofo is declared in public square by none other than the parents 'beneinu ze", no concerns about L'H'. Even when it comes to monetary issues only, Bnos Tzlafchad declared "Ki becheto mes", let alone when lives are at stake. You can find all over in the Torah, encouraging to disclose the perpetrators evil inclination without any concerns about L'H. In support of all this, why haven't these rabbis ever convened an urgent VEHITZILU HAEIDA meeting of 'Hovo nischakmo lo' in saving and protecting the defenseless children from destruction, rather than coming up with alleged messira or alleged lashan hara shield, cherishing the child molesters.

    The answer is twofold.

    One reason is MECHAPEH for selfish reasons. The perpetrator could be anyone from their immediate family or close to the family, or friend, a money contributor, a macher, a friend of a macher and on and on and on. MECHAPEH goes SO far, that even the Leiby Cameras are also given into 24/7 handle with care undertakers so to make sure the anshei shlomeinu are immune.
    The other reason as has been disclosed by a Menahel, that the mosdos loi oleinu are infiltrated by so many of these, that the rov minyan and rov binyan will disintergrate upon disclosure, following that, the victims that still survive will sue the 'beguniyas' out from them. See what's happening to YU. The same reason why they are against the Markey Bill. Yeshivas Volozhin decided to disband and close down, when talmidim went off the derech, same applies when ahser Korcho baderech. Suru mimenu maher ki bou mayim ad nafesh.

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  14. Felix aka yeruchum.no matter how big your gedolim in the moetzes are you still cant change the shulchan aruch. They are erasing an entire chapter in the sa who deals explicitly with a rodef. So mr felix aka yeruchum who you gonna trust? The shulchan aruch or ruv or your gedolim/ketamim who love to sit on the moetzet dais?

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