Friday, July 6, 2012

Alleged rapist working in Brooklyn Yeshiva - Background check?

NY Daily News   Moshe Pinter, 28, was arrested and charged with a trying to molest a 13-year old boy in 2007, but pled down the top felony charge to a misdemeanor child endangerment offense after the victim declined to testify against him, according to court records and sources.

Pinter was sentenced to three years of probation, but was not barred from working with minors.

For the past year Pinter has been working at Ohr Hameir Yeshiva in Borough Park chaperoning Hasidic teens on weekend getaways while parents had no idea of his criminal past - which also includes two theft convictions.

Child victim advocates said the case highlights the need for private schools to be legally obligated to run fingerprint and background checks on employees and for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to publicize the names of convicted perpetrators in the Jewish community.

Debate over drafting Chareidim & Arabs

NY Times  On one level, the questions shaking the Israeli political system this week are pragmatic: how many ultra-Orthodox men and Arab citizens should be drafted into the military or national service, over how many years and how should those who resist be penalized? 

But the debate over these details masks a more fundamental and fractious one about evolving identity in this still-young state, where a “people’s army” has long been a defining principle, and about the growing cleavage among its tribes. 

That is what has brought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s broad unity coalition to the brink of collapse in recent days, with an Aug. 1 deadline looming to replace a law providing draft exemptions to thousands of men studying in yeshivas that the Supreme Court deemed illegal in February. 

“What’s at stake is two cultures, two civilizations,” Professor Stern added, referring to the ultra-Orthodox, known as Haredim, and other Jews here. “These two civilizations used to live in some kind of peace because each one thought that the other is going to disappear eventually. Nowadays I think everybody realizes that the two camps are here to stay, and we have to decide what will be the identity in the public sphere.”

Victim who Assaulted Molester Priest - Acquitted

CNN A California jury Thursday acquitted a man charged with assaulting a retired Catholic priest, in a case that prosecutors had described as a vigilante attack.

Weiss Family Statement & Supporting Documents

Nachlaot: An anonymous letter objecting to a post

I just received this letter today. It is a demand that I remove a post regarding an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post about the child abuse scandal in Nachlaot.  This is an example of the pressure that happens in the Orthodox community regarding discussing of child abuse. Anonymous letters,  anonymous phone calls etc. 

He masterminded systematic rape of over 100 kids :The nightmare of Nachlaot
Dear Rabbi,
I recently went through your blogs on  Nachlaot and see that you are not one of the people who have been irrationally pushing the witch hunt that has been going on in Nachlaot.  Since your blog comes up every time a search is done on Nachlaot abuse, I assumed you were one of the many inciters.  In this I apologize.  However, I will take you to task on the article you did print from the Jerusalem Post.  I am not sure for what purpose you posted it.   Perhaps you didn't have any better thing to post that day.  In any case, the fact that you took the effort to give validity to an article from the JP that is based on lies and contains mostly lies is not forgivable.  (Every one is judged according to who they are.)  Therefore, since you have involved yourself in outright Motzie Shem Ra(everyone knows who S is), and chose to give the validity of the Torah to these lies by posting them on your blog as a truth, it is only right that you should want to correct the ill truths that you presented as truth. 
There is several reasons why you would want to do this.  A. Many innocent lives have been destroyed.  The only way to correct that is to expose the lies and establish the truth.  B.  As long as the children are being treated based on lies, they will never get better.  1. Many of the children that are in treatment may not have been abused. 2. And if they were abused, it is not by the people they are claiming to have abused them.  3.  The people that are abusing them are still getting away with it,  i.e. brothers,  Rebbis or whoever might actually have access to them.  C.  Several people that are in jail very well may be innocent.  D. All the other reasons stated in the letters of the Rabbis that say it much more eloquently than I do.
Therefore, it is imperative that you do what you can do to straighten out this situation.  To stand up in the name of truth. 
Having been falsely accused,  basically ostracized from the Jewish community, the Shechina cries.  

One of the MANY falsely accused of Nachlaot. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chazon Ish: "Die rather than Transgress" - Literally?

There are three sins which a person must die rather than transgress, murder, idolatry and sexual immorality (Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 157:1). The Chazon Ish pronounced that drafting women was included and that a woman should resist even if it meant death (See the below excerpt). The Chazon Ish also said the same applied to shaking hands with women. My question is whether he meant that literally? In other words should a man faced with the choice of being killed or shaking hands with a woman - should allow himself to be killed?

[Just added the original report in Moadim u'Zemanim where it is clear that the Chazon Ish meant it literally.]
תשובות והנהגות כרך ד סימן ש    נישוק ונתינת יד לאמו החורגת  

נדרשתי מבחור ירא שמים, שנודע לו רק עכשיו שאמו מתה בילדותו, ואביו התחתן עם אשה שניה שגידלה אותו כבן ממש, ועכשיו כשנודע להבחור ממאן לנשק ולתת יד לאמו החורגת, ואביו כועס עליו מאד ואומר שזה לא הכרת הטוב לנהוג כן באשה שגדלתו במסירות, עד שרוצה לגרש את הבן מהבית. וכעין שאלה זו הבאתי ב"מועדים וזמנים" (ח"ד סימן שט"ז בהג"ה) ששאלתי למרן החזון איש זצ"ל והשיב שאין להתיר אפילו נתינת יד מפני שדרך חיבה היא ויהרג ואל יעבור. וסיפר לי השואל שאח"כ הלך לשאול גם את הגאון רבי משה פיינשטיין זצ"ל, והשיב שאם מדקדק לעשות בצורה ובאופן שניכר שאין זה דרך חיבה מותר, ואין בזה משום אביזרייהו, והביא לזה דברי הרמב"ם בהלכותיו שעיקר האיסור הוא דרך תאוה דוקא, ולדבריו התיר באופן שהבאנו

מועדים וזמנים (חלק ד' סי' שט"ז):
...הבן ביקש ממני ליכנס לרבינו ה"חזון איש" זצ"ל לשאול פיו לשמוע עצתו, נכנסתי וסיפרתי לו הדברים כהויתן, והשיב מיד "לתת יד לאשה קריבה לעירות, ומאביזרייהו דגלוי עריות שיהרג ואל יעבור, ואין שום היתר בזה מפני דרכי שלום או רגילה עמה כאמו", אבל סיים דבשמירת התורה לא יבוא לידי היזק, ושהבן יתעקש ויצליח בע"ה, ואודיע לו דבר זה בשמו והבחור באמת התעקש ומיאן לתת יד עד שלבסוף האשה גופא השפיעה על הבעל לעזוב אותו למנהגו אם מתעקש  כ"כ ושלום בבית והבחור זכה ב"ה לבית נאמן בישראל והוא תלמיד חכם שזכה לשלום בית ומשפחה וחיים מאושרים!
RJJ Halacha Journal  Rav Yaakov Koniefsky reported that the Chazon Ish had declared that if the law were indeed passed, it was the duty of every Jew to resist unto death - literally.s For him it represented an encroachment upon the prohibition of "Arayot" - immorality and licentiousness - which is one of the three mitzyot for which a Jew must choose death rather than transgress. Rav Koniefsky also writes that the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, and the Tchebiner Rav all concurred that if the measure became law, every family with·a draft-age daughter would have to leave the country! So strong were they in opposing the danger that they equally opposed a similar plan to draft girls not for the army but for some alternate National Service.

They left no doubt as to the cause for their opposition - the army in any country. and Israel is no different, is a place where moral standards are relaxed. to say the least, and it was just not the proper environment for a Jewish daughter, Against their will, the girls would be affected by the atmosphere and the environment to which they would be exposed, a milieu which would replace the positive reinforcement they would have gotten at home from parents and family.

Rabbis Isser Zalman Meltzer and Tzvi Pesach Frank also issued pronouncements that a person must choose death rather than accede to the government decree, as did the Steipler Rav and Rav Shach. When another rabbi suggested that perhaps it would not be so terrible if the girls served under carefully supervised conditions, the Chazon Ish retorted that the rabbi's opinion was totally worthless and, had he had any children, he would not have been able to say something like that The Chazon Ish actually ruled that the Sabbath should be desecrated to avoid compliance with a draft order and urged parents and teachers to inculcate young women with the laws of dying "al kiddush Hashem;' in sanctification of the Name

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Marriage: Man takes - Wife doesn't give herself

Torah Temima(Devarim 24:1.3): If she gives him something and she says I am betrothed to you because of what I gave you - then it is not a valid marriage (Kiddushin 4b). Rashi explains that she says to him “You are sanctified to me.” But Tosfos questions this since the language of kedusha doesn’t apply to a man since marriage doesn’t prohibit him to other women [See Kiddushin (2b), What is the connotation of the term kiddushin? It means that she is prohibited to the whole world like hekdash.] Therefore Tosfos explains that it means that she says to him, “I am sanctified to you.” However in my opinion the language of “kidashto” does not indicate that she is saying,” I am sanctified to you.” If it did mean that then the gemora should have said that she sanctified herself to him. But in general it is not clear where you learn that a woman can sanctify herself to him - since it is well known in many places in the Torah that in marriage the husband is the acquirer or purchaser! It would appear according to Kiddushin (9a), “How is a woman married through a document? The husband writes to the father, Your daughter is sanctified to me – then it is a valid marriage.” Thus we see explicitly that even though in commercial documents the seller writes, I am selling you my field, but here the husband is writing, Your daughter is sanctified to me - and the father doesn’t write, My daughter is sanctified to you. That is because in commercial documents the seller writes that he is selling his property because the Torah makes everything dependent on the seller. In contrast concerning marriage, it says, When a man will take a wife and thus the Torah makes marriage dependent on the husband.” Thus it is clear from this gemora that if the Torah hadn’t stated “when a man will take” the Torah would be understood and logic would support this - that in truth a woman could betroth herself to her husband because it would be equivalent to her selling herself to him – as it states, “And he will rule over you” and well as Tehilim (45), “Because he is your master...” In fact the Rashbam (Bava Basra 48b) explicitly writes that the betrothal of a woman is equivalent to the case of the seller selling himself to the purchaser. [see my explanation in ohs 6]. The normal way of acquisition is that the seller indicates what rights he is transferring to the seller. However since the Torah added in the case of marriage, “When a man acquire a wife” - the husband is the one who has to be described as acquiring rather than the seller writing that he is selling his rights to the purchaser. This point is the intent of the gemora before us. That if the wife says she is giving her rights to herself to him and she says that he now possesses the rights to her in the normal manner of commerce where the seller says to the purchaser, Go and establish possession – the marriage isn’t valid. Since the Torah states, “when he will acquire a wife,” that makes the validity of marriage totally dependent on his taking the initiative in what he says and his act of acquisition.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dr. Benny Brown's Biography of Chazon Ish

Haaretz   It is to Brown’s credit that he has rescued the Hazon Ish from ultra-Orthodox hagiography. Brown treats his subject with the respect he deserves and with more than a little empathy. At the same time, he views him as flesh and blood, and does not refrain from disclosing moments of weakness in his life. One mark of Brown’s success is the sharpness of the Haredi response to his book. It seems that more than anything else, the ultra-Orthodox cannot forgive Brown for saying the Hazon Ish − whom they consider one of the inspirations for the creation of a “learning society” in which Haredi men learn Torah all day instead of working, regardless of their scholarly aptitude − never believed that men must do nothing but study Torah, and that he was not opposed to army service or participation in the workforce.

While it may seem that it’s the gedolim who shaped the Haredi ethos as we know it today, the society is influenced by many more dynamics and constraints than the greats could have foreseen. The object of the hagiography, then, is to reinvent the images of the greats to suit the needs of the ultra-Orthodox ethos as it stands today. And woe is the critical scholar who reveals the gap between myth and reality.

In response to Brown’s book, Rabbi Abraham Isaiah Bergman wrote in the Haredi newspaper Yated Neeman: “These people [critical scholars] who have not ever read and have not studied and have never gotten close to Torah scholars, and think that they have touched an angel of God even though they have not come close at all ... I say to them: You who are coming to trample my courts, who are you to come here with donkeys [which can never become kosher animals]? ... Let the source of living water [a reference to God and the Torah] be.

Benjamin Brown’s book on the Hazon Ish is an impressive scholarly achievement, an important signpost in the study of ultra-Orthodox society. Anyone who wants to understand the Haredi world, with its obvious implications for Israeli society in general, must not miss this book.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Moser - Shulchan Aruch/Rema C.M. 388:5

Guest Post by Stan   Shulchan Oruch/ Rema Choshen Mishpot 388:5

Litigants who have a disagreement over land or over movable objects, this one says it is mine and this one says it is mine and one of them got up and informed (to the secular/ non Jewish authorities) then Bais Din (is obligated to) puts the one who forces (i.e. the informant) in cheirem until it reverts to how it was before and the hand of the forcer (through secular court) is removed between them and they have a Din Torah.

The Rema adds that the informant does not have the din of a moyser even though he made his "friend" have a very big loss because this is not called mesirah unless he intended to cause his friend damage but it is not mesirah where he (only) intends to retrieve what belonged to him (and there are those who disagree etc).

Please explain how we see from this Rema that a woman who goes to arko'oys for a divorce is not a moyser?

a) This case is talking about monetary matters, not other matters.
b) Even if you want to argue that it applies to non-monetary matters as well, merely by simply asking for a divorce the woman is almost inevitably harming the man unless he does not mind.
c) If the woman asks for anything that she is not entitled to al pi halocho, she is most definitely a moyser from this Rema e.g. alimony, equitable distribution etc.
d) If the children are boys and if she asks for custody and the halocho is that the boys go with the father, she is a moyser.
e) If she says anything bad whatsoever about the father to the courts, she is damaging the father and so is oyver mesirah.
f) If she asks for child support from the courts in the US, which many poskim including Rav Sternbuch hold is awarded excessively relative to the halochoh, she is a moyser.

So please explain to us, how unless in an extremely rare case, a woman going to arko'oys in the US is not a moyser?

Please explain to us why you conclude that such a woman in not a moyser? Who are you kidding?

Abuse viewed differently 30 years ago?

NYTimes This year, Lisa M. Friel, the former Manhattan prosecutor who has helped Poly Prep bolster its sexual-abuse-prevention program, angered plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the school when she said in an interview that “people had very different understandings of what sexual abuse was in the ’60s and ’70s and what a pedophile was.” 

 One problem with an argument like Mr. Lin’s is the extent to which it belies the secrecy surrounding the kind of encounters he describes. If things had, in fact, been as open, freewheeling and inoculated from reproof as he and others might have chosen to believe, then the sex that transpired between teachers and students would not have happened so clandestinely, with wrenching admissions and discussions arriving only 20 and 30 years later.  

 Times are different, in that more children who have been abused say so. In his research, David Finkelhor, a leading expert on sexual abuse who wrote one of the 1980 books, has found that now, in 50 percent of sexual abuse cases, the child’s victimization had been reported to an authority, compared with 25 percent in 1992. Dr. Finkelhor has also found that the number of substantiated cases of abuse has dropped 62 percent from 1990 to 2010. 

While it is true that the world of parental vigilance we inhabit now was not yet manifest in the ’70s or even the ’80s, when much of the abuse at Horace Mann is said to have happened, it skews reality to imagine that the sexual abuse of children is an issue that only recently has seen the rays of the sun. By 1974, years before the arrival of Lifetime television and its relentless airing of crisis dramas, ABC offered an hour of the series “Marcus Welby, M.D.” devoted to the case of a 14-year-old boy who had been raped by a science teacher during a field trip.

Rav Sternbuch: Divorce:Who gets custody of Kids?

Rav Sternbuch (1:783):Question: In the case of a couple getting divorced, who gets the custody of the children? Answer: It would seem that according to Torah law it depends upon what is best for the children. Kesubos (102b) states that the daughter typically goes to the mother – because that is best for her as is explained in Rema (E.H. 82:7). The son typically goes to the father after the age of six as is explained in the Be’er haGolah. That is because the father teaches his son Torah and provides him with guidance. Consequently it is typically best for the son to be with the father. However beis din always must decide what is best for the children as is stated in a responsa ascribed to the Ramban (#38) as well as the Radvaz which is cited in Pischei Teshuva (2:7). Look at Rambam and Ravad (Hilchos Ishus 21:13) whether a son should go to his father when he is less then six when he has already taught him Torah. Also see Noda B’Yehua (E.H. #89), that if they are not in the same city then the son should be with the father even when he is less than six. In modern times since yeshivos are readily available, there are times when it is best for the mother to have custody to educate her son and to send him to yeshiva and he will be as well educated as if the husband had custody. See Rashdam (E.H. 123), that it is obvious that everything is done for the good of the education of the children. And today there are excellent schools also for girls. The main point is to judge what is the best place for the education of the children and their welfare. Therefore in the present case, I advised that for the time being that the custody be reversed so that the son goes to his mother because she will supervise him and send him to an excellent yeshiva. Whereas the daughter should go to the father who will watch her since she has grown some and wants to be with him and he will supervise her. This is according to the Chelkos Mechokek (2:10) that in the case where the daughter says she prefers the father that it is to her benefit and her wishes should be complied with. This is also the view of the Maharshdam we mentioned before – that everything depends on what is good for her. We have also decided that in another year, there were will be a new evaluation to decide what arranged is in their best interest.

Rav Sternbuch: Destroying Television to Stop Sin?

Rav Sternbuch (1:368):Question: A baal teshuva, when visiting his parents who have a television, damages it in order that the family members will not watch it. Is it permitted for him to damage so? Answer: The prohibition of watching television is very serious and it is an aspect of sexual immorality. That is because as the result of watching this impure device it increases his attraction to sexual sins. Therefore it is definitely necessary to stop a person from watching television in various ways. It is literally a psik reisha ( a direct cause of sinning) for someone who lives in a house with a television which degrades those who watch it. However there is a dispute between the Ketzos and the Nesivos (C.M. 3) whether the ability to force someone to do keep a mitzva is uniquely permitted to beis din or whether every single person is allowed to force others to keep mitzvos. According to the Ketzos it is only permitted for beis din while the Nesivos says that every person has a mitzva to prevent others from sinning.... Accordingly the Nesivos would permit in our case to carry out whatever activity is needed to stop television watching. In contrast the Ketzos says that only beis din has the power to decide and therefore the individual can not act on his own initiative to harm another’s property. However it would seem that those poskim who require permission from beis din are correct. We also see from the Yereim (#278) that coercing that might involve death is considered a knas which can not be done by the layman but requires mumchin (expert judges) in Israel. See also Minchas Chinuch (Parashas Bo). And even if the actual halacha was that each individual has to obligation to force mitzva observance, it would appear that we shouldn’t have a system of anarchy where one person can decide to harm to property of another. Therefore even if it were allowed – it is necessary to consult with a beis din before doing anything. That is because pragmatically there are times that this vigilante action against another’s property will cause the other person to be turned off by Judaism rather than making him more observant. Thus no one should take the property of others with the claim that they were only doing it for the sake of Heaven in order to stop him from sin. Furthermore it could be that the halacha only would permit taking another’s property when the sin is a monetary one. However in this case where the obligation is to prevent him from doing a sin, it is not relevant for an individual to force compliance by taking another’s property. However in our case property is not being taken to force him to behave. Rather the question is whether to destroy an impure device which causes spiritual harm and encourages transgressing severe sins. Thus it seems we are only destroying evil. Support for this view is found in Berachos (20a) which says there was the case of a certain pious individual who ripped off an immodest red garment from a woman that was worth 400 zuz. It seem from the gemora that such an action of stopping immorality is proper in a case of chilul haShem– even though it caused the pious person to have to repay the 400 zuz. So surely in the case of the television which causes much greater impurity. Similarly we see that Rachel stole her father’s idols to stop him from involvement with idolatry as Rashi (Bereishis 31:19) explained.

However despite these apparent proofs that an individual can act on his own initiative, I feel that every such action requires a consultation with a rav. We see clearly in the above gemora, that the pious person indicated that he should have been more patient and not have been so hasty to rip the garment. Also we see that Yaakov did not approve of this theft which Rachel kept concealed from him and in fact he cursed the person who stole the idols – and she died from the curse. (We see that sometimes a pious act causes much more spiritual harm then if no action were taken. And that instead of glorifying G‑d – the reverse happens as is known from many incidents.). It could also be that in our case it is not the appropriate time to stop them from watching television and an act that is premature can cause much harm. Thus even if the act itself is permitted it might be at the wrong time. Therefore the act can not be done in isolation of context and it is necessary to get permission with a wise person as to what is appropriate and to follow his words. It is also a good idea to speak with the parents and to try to explain to them that television causes much harm. And so even if they enjoy it for the moment – it will eventually cause severe harm to the entire family. In fact there is nothing comparable to its harmfulness. In conclusion, concerning damaging or destroying the television, even if he is willing to pay for it, it is best if he asks a posek before he does anything. One who acts according to the rabbis will always merit success.

קצות החושן (סימן ג ס"ק א):  ואפילו לפי מ"ש הרמב"ן בחידושיו סוף ב"ב (קעה, ב ד"ה הא דאמר רבה) דגם למ"ד שעבודא לאו דאורייתא יורדין לנכסיו, טעמא דידיה לפי דהב"ד רשאין לכוף אותו בכל מילי דכפיה לקיים מצוותו ולהכי נמי יורדין לנכסיו משום כפיה והיינו כפייה דידיה לקיים המצוה בעל כרחו, וא"כ כיון דאינו אלא מתורת כפיה דהא הנכסים אינם משועבדים וא"כ מוכח דשליחותייהו דקמאי קא עבדינן.
נתיבות המשפט (ביאורים סימן ג ס"ק א ): גם מה שכתב [בסק"א] דאי שעבודא לאו דאורייתא והבית דין כופין בעי בי"ד [מומחין] דוקא לכפותו דהדיוטות לאו בני עישוי נינהו. נראה לפענ"ד דליתא, דכיון דדמי לעשה סוכה ואינו עושה דכופין אותו לקיים המצוה, כל אדם מצווה להפריש חבירו מאיסור אפילו מי שאינו בכלל בית דין, כדמוכח בב"ק כ"ח [ע"א] גבי נרצע שכלו ימיו, דיכול רבו להכותו כדי להפרישו מאיסור שפחה, ע"ש. ואי בעינן בגמר דין ג' והיינו לומר פלוני זכאי, יבואר אי"ה בסימן ה' [סק"ב].