Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kolko debacle: How to look up to rabbis who support a confessed pedophile?

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn, 

Can you please help me?

I went to a Rabbi for guidance about how to deal with my own anger against how the Kolko affair was handled by Lakewood rabbis. My anger stems from the fact that I want to look up to these Rabbis as leaders I can trust. So I feel betrayed in a personal way. He said, without any indifference to molestation or opposition to police involvement, that I have no way of knowing what the facts really are.  Therefore I could not assume the rabbis acted stupidly or insensitively.

You can't discuss your anger about X by being questioned whether X happened.  I therefore didn't get what I was looking for.

Would you dispute the premise that I cannot know what happened?  if not, how should I relate personally to the issue? What is your response to this?  

With your permission I would like to show your response to the Rabbi.

thank you


do I have the right  to assume they have done wrong, or only that they have failed to explain what they did?
=============update 5 24 2013
2nd letter

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

My previous letter to you was unclear, resulting in confusion among readers.  I would like to set the record straight about my interaction with a Rabbi.  This Rabbi is

1. very sensitive to the issue of molestation, and has thought about it deeply,

believing it is the major cause of people leaving Judaism

2. totally supports going to the police when evidence is present

3. knew nothing of and had read nothing about this case but based his on-the-spot response on my flawed oral report

4. was sincerely agnostic, not biased in Lakewood's favor.  He never said I should assume their innocence.

  Thus, the Rabbi was dealing not with abuse per se but with the question of what facts can one know from media. 
A lesson from this story is that there is limit to what Rabbis can do when talmidim want quick answers to personal problems.  


  1. Modern orthodox JewMay 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    The answer is very simple. You, like many, need to get yourself a new rabbi. Life moves on. The Lakewood rabbis are wrong. You are right to be angry at them. The basic facts are all known. The rabbi you went to talk to was wrong for denying that you don't know the facts - we all do. Therefore, time for a new rabbi. And let's be clear - a new rabbi means you need to adopt a new hashkafa. Its called modern orthodoxy.

  2. It is wonderful to be in a world where modern Orthodox rabbis are free of mistakes.

    1. Rav Eidensohn,

      it would appear that your definition of daas torah, emuna chachamim includes the possibility of these rabbanim making mistakes. that is already a divergence from the hard core belief.

      the second point would be, you're right everyone, be it an MO rabbi or a member of the Eida, makes mistakes. but is what happened here just "a mistake"? the defense of this guy's innocence, in the face of lots of evidence, has been going on for years. the persecution of the accusing family has been going on for years. are these just "mistakes"? what do all of these mistakes say about their judgement?

      lastly, having made such grievous "mistakes", are these rabbis going to pay any price?

  3. I believe that the term for this - and for the negative reactions to Rav Sternbuch's speech in the other posting - is cognitive dissonance. As is obvious, different people handle it in different ways.

  4. There are a few issues.
    One, do they feel that child molestation is enough of a reason to report to authorities especially when you know it will continue if you don't report.
    Where they tried to handle it in house and couldn't, what is the next option according to them?
    If they do not know what happened, should one spread slander and lies on a tremendous Talmud chacham who obviously knows the din, and has a heter from a major senior rabbi in order to stop him from doing what he thinks is the proper thing to do?
    After one admits that he is guilty, do you look back and say I was wrong and ask michila, or say, I still feel he is not guilty and I didn't do anything wrong.
    It would be nice if someone contacted one of the many Rabonim involved in this case and ask them. Does anyone volunteer ?

  5. Most run of the mill rabonim and even some very senior rabonim will defend themselves and thier decision by telling you that you lack in emunas chachomim. This is whats called novel birshus hatorah. There really isnt much you can do other then find a REAL ruv or closet rov . By clost rov I mean a rov who will tell you the tr uth off the record. Both are hard to find each for different reasons. As far as what happened in detail, No one knows because no body was there besideds the boy and. Kolko. Not always is detail needed to be known because what happened, is undisputable in this case. And the biggest chutpah is for the brooklyn rabbi to say publicly that kolko did not do anything. How on earth can he say that if he wasnt there. If he wants to say its not probable then we wouldnt have an issue but to say flat out he did not harm him? Every dog has its day. So dont feel confused here. Just do what the ratzon haboreh really wants. Deep down you know how wrong this is and indeed it hurts to see supposed re putable rabbonim acting this way. Chazak ve. Ematz my fried. You are not in this boat alone.

  6. If you approach a local rabbi who is not already a mentor or good friend, he may be reluctant to open up about his true personal opinion in this type of matter.

  7. Is anyone STILL supporting him? Sorry if I'm out of the loop on this.

  8. There are certain facts that are known to people involved in the story, to Rabbi Belsky and the Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva and even to the judge.

    These facts could not be brought in open court for evidentiary reasons that apply in rape & abuse cases. Even the report of his confessions to a therapist were in the end retracted by that therapist. There was one other person who said he confessed but that person's credibility was called into question.

    Knowing these facts, I don't see how we can say with any certainty whether Kolko or the boy are telling the truth. There are arguments both ways.

    In the end Kolko pled guilty because on the first two days of trial, his defense strategy of undermining the boy and his father's testimony (within the legal limits of what was allowed to be brought up), failed. It was clear that the jury believed the boy and Kolko was looking at 60 years. The rabbinic advice to him at that time changed and he was told to plea.

    Kolko took a plea and under NJ law that means he had to admit guilt.

    Most of this occurred before the two other accusers, if they actually exist, came forward. I can't convey what I believe motivated this development but suffice it to say that it is strange that after four years of publicity two other accusers (a boy and a girl?!?) came forward independently, half-way through the trial, over the course of 48 hours.

    Given (a) the nature of what he was accused of; (b) the information which made it impossible to know his guilt for sure (or even 'beyond a reasonable doubt'). Even if a court would find him guilty no Beis Din would. The rabbis held that going to the police was mesira and all the relevant dinim apply.

    As someone who knows a fair amount about the case, I think that without one side admitting to lying, we will never know what actually happened. I do think there is enough to keep Kolko out of the classroom, maybe even in therapy to monitor him, but in jail, no way.

    1. Madison Avenue - is your name meant to indicate that you live in Lakewood or the world of spinning words?

    2. Madison Avenue (Lakewood)May 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      I was leaving it ambiguous for fun!
      But the answer is the first.

    3. One side did admit to lying. Kolko admitted to being a pedophile. If he had not admitted guilt (i.e. changed his story) the judge could not accept the plea.

  9. Just as in Israel there has been a movement among some in Religious Zionist circles to retain their positive values and also gain various positive values of a more "chareidi" approach, it is possible that there will form groups in chutz laaretz that will reach a similar modus operandi.

  10. Disagree with Modern orthodox Jew. You can still be Chareidi. Life and l'havdil Torah too are all like a Sudoku puzzle. Everyone can be wrong. A person can mess up pshat in a Tosfos or misread a Gra. A big Gadol can misread a Gra too. It doesn't mean that you are bigger than him either. Yocheved disagreed with her father; Avigail disagreed with Dovid. Daas Torah means truth, not blind and thoughtless adherence. To believe that Rabbonim cannot err is being a kafui tov to Hashem because he gave you a brain to be used.. not to be put in park. Generally speaking we find truth with Rabbonim but every so often they err.

    1. Of course, people make mistakes. But saying that isn't enough. If the same mistakes keep on happening, some kind of deeper change is needed.

      We no longer have prophecy, but we still have people (like R' Eidensohn and other rabbis advocating for change on how we deal with abuse) who come forward with new ideas. There is an important role for such people, and the movements for change they represent. I think Yaacov Dovid is correct in thinking about this in terms of movements -- sometimes cultural change and institutional change is needed.

      These movements and leaders are just as important as gedolim in some sense. Perhaps gedolim represent stability and tradition, based on the timeless Torah, while leaders and movements (rooted in and respectful of the Torah and gedolim) push changes which eventually, the community and the gedolim will come to accept.

      This may restrict people's conceptions of the application of Da'as Torah to gedolim. That is OK -- it is a fairly new concept, and it should change with time as called for by circumstances -- that is, the effect of the prevailing all-encompassing conceptions of Da'as Torah.

  11. To madison av. Personally i can think of many reasons why during the four years those other victims did not come forward so because you can come up with reasons therefore discount the case? Number 2. In the same sentence that write that you know a fair amount of the case you also write that untill one of the sides admits to lying then no one will know the truth means that you really dont know the case. You werent there and neither was belsky. For belsky to say that he knows for a fact that kolko did not do anything is a complete lie.. the only ones who know what happened is kolko and the victim. So mr madison av. Which part of the case are you familiar with that you feel so comfortable to tel us that we dont realy know what happened when u yourself werent there. This is precisely why we Have a judge and jury and witneses. What lakewood did to this family is mind boggling to say the least. And the whole world sees right through this and it proves more and more to the rest of the world that rabonim in the yeshivish and chasisih velt will do anything to make sure that molesters go unreported. Mr madison answer the following question. If you saw a yeshive man sneak out of your house in middle of the night and then your daughter tells you that a man just hurt her. Are you Going to call 911. Or call rabbiBelsky and rabbi kotler. You know the answer and we all know the answer. Lets call a spade a spade. And lets not have double standards.

    1. Madison Avenue (Lakewood)May 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      But that is not what happened here, no one saw anything at all. It boils down to the accuser's word vs the defendant's. There are reasons to doubt each one. Therefore these rabonim held that in halacha the most that could be done is michush mibaya leyh. The fact that a gentile jury in 2013 would find him guilty doesn't change that and they still feel that by reporting Kolko he has ended up being punished far beyond what the Torah would allow in this case (based on the lack of direct evidence). That is mesira.

    2. Madison Avenue I you suggest spend more time in the Beis Medrash and less time on the Internet.

      When a person reports someone he knows or suspects of being harmful to himself or others - that is not called Mesira. Look at Chasam Sofer (Gittin 7a) which is cited as halacha. You might also want to look at the Rambam

      Rambam (Hilchos Chovel uMazik 8:11): …Similarly all those who distress the community and harm it – it is permitted to hand them over to the non Jewish government to be beaten, imprisoned and punished. However if the person is only disturbing an individual and not the community – it is prohibited to hand him over. It is also prohibited to cause the loss of the property of the moser – even though it permitted to cause the death of the moser himself. That is because his property belongs to his heirs. [see above Chasam Sofer who extends this to the individual]

      Rav Moshe Halberstam (Yeschurun 15): We see in the Mishna LeMelech (Hilchos Chovel u’Mazik 8:10) who brings commentary that the law that if it is possible to stop the pursuer by injuring one of his limits only applies to third parties but the pursued himself is able to kill him freely even if he could have saved himself by damages one of the pursuers limbs…Thus it is proven that the relatives of the pursuer (rodef) are in fact the pursued themselves and they are the closest to the obligation and mitzva to stop the rodef from perpetrating his evil designs on them…

      Reporting a rodef is not conditional on the punishment being that of the Torah. This is extensively discussed in the commentaries on BM 88 regarding R Eliezar bar Rav Shimon who reported thief's to the government becuase they were causing innocent Jews to be killed because of the incompetence of the Romans in identifying the true thief. He did this even though the accussed was crucified - which is not the Torah punishment for stealing.

      There is much more on this - I would strongly suggest you buy my sefer Child and Domestic Abuse to learn the accepted halacha as clearly stated by the gedolim!

    3. Madison Avenue (Lakewood)May 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      That's pretty funny from someone who has a blog which is updated several times a day and who moderates comments! I dare say you spend more time on the internet than I do.

      I know your sources. I think the Rambam does not apply here. Kolko was not distressing the community. He had one underage accuser with credibility issues. He himself has credibility issues. A jury is not more qualified than a posek to decide who to believe. In this case nobody is completely believable and we simply have no way of knowing what happened, so lets take precautions and move on.

      As for the Yeshurun articles on the issue. There was disagreement amongst them and certainly there are prominent poskim who disagreed with them altogether.

      The question is not how to handle someone we know is a rodef. They were talking about someone who is a clearly a rodef, either there is eyewitness testimony or multiple accusers etc. and we have no way to stop him except to turn him over to the authorities. In this case we have no reason to think he is a rodef except one child's testimony extracted under questioning from his father. And as I said, there are reasons to doubt his testimony altogether.

      I did not comment here to get into a halachik debate with you. I just wanted to help the questioner understand that the rabonim involved had information beyond what was reported in the media. They were basing themselves on the information they had and how they learned this sugya, perhaps differently that R. Eidensohn. They are neither evil nor stupid.

    4. Madison Avenue distorts the facts to create the impression that Kolko's guilt is unclear. He states that the social worker has recanted his testimony that Kolko admitted guilt during their meeting. Yet this social worker was scheduled to testify for the prosecution after a vigorous attempt by the defence to prevent his testifying. A prominent rabbi in Lakewood, a talmid of BMG in its early years, was also scheduled to testify about Kolko confessing. I am aware of one of the victims who came forward and know that he is real. Rabbi Belsky, himself does nor deny the earlier abuse. He questioned its relevance because the incidents took place when Kolko was a minor. What is relevant is that after forcing the vitim's family out of Lakewood and Kolko being found guilty there is a total unwillingness to admit any mistake.

    5. Madison Avenue wrote:

      "I know your sources. I think the Rambam does not apply here. Kolko was not distressing the community. He had one underage accuser with credibility issues. He himself has credibility issues. A jury is not more qualified than a posek to decide who to believe. In this case nobody is completely believable and we simply have no way of knowing what happened, so lets take precautions and move on."

      sorry but you clearly don't know these sources - read the Chasam Sofer again. It is clear that there were other victims.
      Read the discussion about sofek rodef in Rav Silman's article.

      The language used by Rabbi Belsky against a well know talmid chachom is inexcusable and at least merits a public apology

      The father had every right to believe his son was being abused and that Kolko was a threat to the community. He was given permission from a godol to call the police. It is outrageous that he should be called a moser and driven out of the community.

    6. I just wanted to help the questioner understand that the rabonim involved had information beyond what was reported in the media.

      if true (and i doubt it) than the rabbanim should come forward and explain why and how they made their decision making process.

    7. Madison Avenue (Lakewood)May 23, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      The rabonim involved did not think 'The father had every right to believe his son was being abused and that Kolko was a threat to the community'
      I won't say why here. You either think I am lying and that the rabonim are evil or stupid, or you are dan lekaf zechus that they have information that you do not.
      Ben, not all information can or should be made public. There are minors and innocent parties involved.

    8. Madison Avenue (Lakewood)May 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      Yosef Blau,

      The therapist clarified that Kolko didn't actually confess but that the therapist inferred from watching his face that he was guilty. That is why to the best of my knowledge he was not a prosecution witness.

      The same is true of Blech who has said that Kolko didn't actually admit it but he was silent when confronted with the accusation by Blech. Kolko says he was in shock and couldn't respond. I don't think we could use his momentary silence as shtika ke'hoda'a... True, a ringing denial would sound better for him but silence a confession does not make.

      By the way, Blech knew that if he testified in court that there was no actual confession he would be finished in Lakewood since the heter of mesira (from the unnamed posek) was based on Blech's saying that Kolko confessed to him!

      So, in the end it is one person's word against another. I am not a Kolko defender, but I just don't see how, irrespective of my own gut feeling that something did happen, there is enough here to allow a gentile court to put a yid in jail for 60 years.

    9. Madison Avenue - you make a nice story.

      There was no problem of mersira for the father because of his perception that Kolko was a rodef. Furthermore there was no problem of mesira because Rav Sternbuch gave him the heter to go to the police. The psak for going to the police is the one I recently published on this blog.

      Don't know why you think that Rav Sternbuch would have poskened differently.

    10. they could explain how they made their decision without going into private details, it is done all the time. anyway the reason that the rabbanim don't / won't explain isn't because of that, it is because they don't believe that they owe anyone an explanation. part of daas torah.

    11. The social worker and Rabbi Blech were both scheduled to testify and didn't only because the trial ended when Kolko confessed. What is your source of information that neither was going to testify? Apparently the prosecution was prepared to use their testimony which is not consistent with your claiming to know what they would have said..

  12. I don't think that here is any simple answer to your question, however I think you need to reorient how you approach Rabbinic authority and your own opinion. Each person deals with difficult questions according to his own personal interests. Your Rabbi's personal interest here seems to be to get you to drop the issue and move on. Sort of how a magician gets you to look one way, when you really should be looking another way. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to unlearn what you have just learned? You have already eaten from the tree of knowledge and I don't sense that you are ready to hide your head in the sand. He may still be qualified to answer halacha questions in other areas, only you can decide.
    You must continue to bravely think for yourself and be prepared to live life based upon your own (Torah based) set of values, which is much harder than having, up till today, let others think for you. Slowly seek out other truth seekers who can help you along this difficult path.
    Welcome to our growing club.

  13. My suspicion is that a lot of these so-called pedophiles are actually mishkav zachar (homosexuals) both psychologically and from the viewpoint of Torah law. It just so happens that the nearest male victims available to the perps are minor age students.

    Classifying all these perps as "pedophiles" is simply a clever PC obfuscation to cover up the crimes of homosexual sickos and scoundrels, and avoid any "homophobia". Certainly one could argue that if their victims are teenagers, ie adults under Jewish law, then Jewish law would consider the perps as homosexual rapists or molesters. Of course the PC liberal Jewish blogs allegedly exposing pedophiles will never discuss this due to the "sin" of "homophobia".

    My suspicion is also that many rabbinic supporters of these so-called pedophiles are themselves closet homosexuals conducting a thinly disguised "gay rights" movement in the Chareidi camp.

    1. So I assume you claim to be a heterosexual. Does that mean you are sexually excited by 9-year old girls? I assure you that is not normal.

    2. EmesLeYaakov... I think you are going way too far... be careful, you are talking about great Talmedai Chachamim. You can respectfully disagree with them but be careful in the tone and name calling...

  14. To EmesLeYaacov - You are certainly assuming a lot claiming that many rabbinic supporters are closet homosexuals. All I can say is kol haposeil, bimumo poseil.
    As to the query that started this post: Everyone makes mistakes. No exceptions. However, when a tzaddik makes a mistake, it's because that's what Hashem wants from him and can extend to a point where he loses his da'as or his bechira at that moment. (See the gemara's discussion about the loss of da'as by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai in not requesting that Jerusalem be spared.)
    In addition, when a tzaddik makes a mistake, Hashem ensures that the outcome is positive. This can be inferred from the posuk, that whatever Yosef did Hashem made successful.
    So if you believe your Rov is a tzaddik (and that can be a big IF sometimes), then just accept this mistake as Ratzon Hashem. If you don't believe that your Rov is a tzaddik, then it's definitely time to find a new Rov.
    BTW - Rabbonim who are Tzaddikim are not limited to the Charedi world. There are good, bad, and ugly in every society.

    1. It is the Ratzon HaShem when a Tzadik makes a mistake? Then why pray tell is there a Korban that is brought for this very purpose? How much more distorted can we make our Torah???

    2. "However, when a tzaddik makes a mistake, it's because that's what Hashem wants from him and can extend to a point where he loses his da'as or his bechira at that moment"

      That is not always the case - since Tzaddikim have been punished for their mistakes/ sins. Moses is the greatest example - he made an error or mistake which he was punished for, and for this was not allowed to enter Israel.

  15. It brings to mind the old quote "In God we trust, all others pay cash".
    With all due respect to the general belief system in play, a broad knowledge of Torah and public displays of chumros in bein Adam l'Makom areas does not a tzadik make, at least not nowadays. It's time we stop pretending that it does and demand more of the leadership.

  16. Achov Melech YisroelMay 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I GUESS THAT MANY HAVE LEARNED LITTLE na"ch (ME INCLUDED), SOME IS QUOTED IN Gemorah, it is known that there were many more neviim , but the 48 were for all generations.
    There were many kings of Israel & Judah who did bad in the eyes of G-d who were Reshaim, & some even had sons tzadikim.
    Let us take Achov King Of Israel, do you think he wore a cross & had a bayonet on his sholder & eat treif without a Yamulkah on his head?
    He was a massive Talmid Chachom & he went out with a SeferTorah wherever he went, he was very medakdek in kashrus that even Eliyahu hanovie ate cooked meat from his kitchen.
    I guess most of his generation honored him, and recognized his righteousness, pioty & honesty, besides his gadlus in Torah & hanhogah. However it took the neviim to point out his weakness & see the rest in Perek Cheilek.
    Today we have no neviim, but a robust spynet/internet, is it possible some of those who we so look up to, are being exposed to be like Achov, albeit not as great Talmidei Chachomim, or medadekei bemitzvos, & possibly less reshaim too.
    My take is we have manhigim who are reshaim in every genertation, sometimes it takes a novie to prove what is malicious & what is a mistake. However if there was a mistake an appoligy would apply, only if the mistake was noticed and acknowledged.
    In this case I am no Novie, so I could only suspect we may have some rotten kings leading our generation.

  17. I never expected to find myself commenting on a blog, but I was distressed and disoriented by the prelude, course and aftermath of this trial,and thought believe that 'Madison Avenue'is inadvertantly repeating some of the worst mistakes that have been displayed thoughout.
    To begin with, I must admit my bias; I am a proud and close friend of the accuser.Nevertheless, my horror is not focused at the way that the accuser has been treated, but how the accusation itself has been treated. From the first, careful consideration of the facts has been overwhelme by rumor and innuendo, and sumtimes blatently subordinated to agendas.
    Finally, in what should be a moment of vindication, after the accused has been proven guilty, slander again raises its ugly head, both by those who should know better and by those so caught up in the pettiness of gossip that they are willfully misguided.
    'Madison Avenue' defends the skeptics with enthusiasm, with proported special knowledge, and with blatent misinformation that is demonstrobly false. Added together, I will grant that he does it as well as possible, but that won't get him into heaven.If I was to elaborate on my own 'special knowledge' much of the pathos of the last three years would be evident, but that would only keep the ball in play - 'he said/he said', which is exactly what should not be happening.
    In one matter I will agree to 'Madison Avenue's implicit assumption though, the only way to Dan L'kaf Zchus those who remain unconvinced is to accept some of Madison Avenue's assertation regarding the course of the trial and his 'special knowledge.' I would encorage then anyone who finds his accuracy suspect (or pure lunacy) to follow his consience.

  18. This important post has turned into two independent discussions: A. Is the resolution of the Kolko story appropriate. B. How does one maintain his commitment to Torah, when his Rov responds to his queries inadequately? I would like to comment on both.
    A. I agree with Rabbi Eidensohn when he told Madison Avenue that he needs to get educated, this is true on many different fronts. 1. Most pedophiles whom have crossed the line and molested a child have either an anti-social (pathologically) tendency or a warped sense of reality. Anti-social because the molester is willing to take an innocent child and permanently damage them for his own benefit. A twisted sense of reality where they think the benefit is mutual and in the child’s best interest. Many child molesters present with both. They are very, very dangerous, especially to our style communities. We have mikvaos, shuls and batei midrashim where children run around unsupervised, summer camps, shabbos guests without background checks and a lot of innocent minded folks. Take a survey in your own neighborhood, after all the publicity how many Kollel wives (who don’t have the internet) heard of Yosef Kolko or know what he looks like that they are keeping your “meichush meha bai”, and even if they heard of him, do you think in a year from now a shtieble in Boro Park will know how he looks and won’t let him around the mikva? Until Lkwd builds their own inpatient sex offender unit, the only way to keep our sweet innocent children safe is to keep this guy in prison!
    2. “I am not being meikal on chillul shabbos but rather being makpid on pikuach nefesh” quote attributed to R’ Chaim Soloveitchik. Any good parent (mostly or al pi rov) should be able to know when their eleven yr old child is lying or telling the truth, it is safe to assume the victim’s father knows the truth. So let me ask you a question, if you are walking down the street one day and see your father/brother/Rebbi/Rov…. struggling to hold down a fellow who is kind of shady (dubious), and that person you trust yells for assistance he says that the shady fellow is trying to run over to the park and beat kids up, and the fellow is struggling and says “Let me go I am just on the way to work.” What would you do? The victim’s father a known and respected Talmid Chochom risked his entire being to stop a dubious fellow (you agreed meichush…) so he doesn’t hurt others, but you are unsure what to do??? Well for starters if you are unsure at least go back home but don’t help the guy escape!!!
    B. To the original letter writer, I hope you are from Lakewood because that would symbolize our own “Chodesh H’aviv”, but something tells me you live elsewhere. Either way, the reason you are even troubled, is because you once learned Torah from real Rabbeim or your parents. You experienced the truth of Torah and you will find a true leader/teacher again. The Mishna says “Eizahu chochom hamakir es makomo”, look for Rabbeim that live by this and don’t profess to be who they aren’t. Both my Rebbi who is an Adom Gadol and my Rov personify this notion. And although there isn’t a question they avoid discussing, from both of them I have heard them say “this isn’t my expertise.” Lo Alman Yisrael, don’t be discouraged.
    I can only hope that this unfortunate story is the impetus for the change that Lakewood so badly needs. It is sad that many continue with their guarded responses saying, “There is more to the story” to give you the impression that a mistake wasn’t made. By the grace of Hashem and the mesirus nefesh of a few individuals, a BIG mistake that was made came to a just (“tzedek tzedek tirdof) resolution.

  19. I have no need to ask a rav about this (although academically I am very interested to hear the opinions of different rebbeim on this subject and especially the poskim and rabbis I respect, admire, and follow) because I simply don't respect those who cover up abuse.

    That's actually part of the danger in asking the opinion of someone I currently respect. If he answers a certain way (such as, "well Daas Torah dictates that these rebbeim in Lakewood have knowledge about the case and the perp that we are unaware of, that wasn't reported anywhere, and wasn't even claimed by his lawyer in court - therefore we can't judge them because they must be acting in good faith on that secret unknown knowledge of facts that don't seem to really exist"), then I might lose respect for someone I admire and follow. But that's part of life.


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