Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rabbis who will not acknowledge sexual abuse because of lashon harah

Some correspondence I recently received clearly shows that there are rabbis - perhaps the  majority - who will profess that while they are very concerned about the welfare of children - but it is less important than being makpid on lashon harah.

Summary of correspondence: His Rav claims that allegations read or heard were lashon harah unless charges were first upheld in beis din based on testimony of 2 kosher witnesses. Questioned whether the average person is allowed to read such allegations on a blog such as mine since they don't need to know and thus the lashon harah serves no purpose.

This is the view clearly expressed by  Rav Menashe Klein   Put another way, these rabbis refuse to accept even the existence of abuse unless it can be reported in ways that don't violate the prohibition of lashon harah.

It is critical to realize that the same verse that prohibits lashon harah - also says that one should not stand by when someone is being hurt physically, psychologically or financially. In fact the commentaries - including that of Rav Elchonon Wasserman understand that there is no prohibition of lashon harah in a situation where a person can be saved from harm by speaking about it.
Vayikra (19:16) You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people; nor shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor; I am the Lord.

Relevant previous posts:
Rabbi Zwiebel of the Aguda saying lashon harah is a high price to pay to save kids from abuse
Rav Menashe Klein rejects the view of gedolei hador regarding child abuse - requires 2 witnesses and beis din
 ====================In contrast ===================
Rav Moshe Sternbuch saying that prohibition of lashon harah is not justification for not listening to allegations - he cites Rav Chaim Ozer and the Gerrer Rebbe.

Pischei Teshuva - saying not saying lashon harah to save people is worse than lashon harah

Rav Elchonon Wasserman - lashon harah prohibited only if intent to harm others

Rema - 2 kosher witnesses not needed 


  1. Lets get it straightJuly 31, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    In a Nut shell.

    Its Horav Menashe Klein Shlit'a (a posek Hador)and other poskim against Kvod K'dishas Moireinu Hagaon Rav Eidensohn (an American Psychologist and Author of Sforim).

    1. You should have noticed which recognized senior poskim Rav Eidensohn relies on. You can't rely on all poskim where there is an ongoing dispute!

    2. Leitzanus, Strawman fallacy, Ad Hominem attack, and faulty dilemma all in one sentence!

    3. Mr. Nut Shell - it is a shame that you haven't taken the time to learn basic halacha.

      If you spend a little bit of time reading the material in the archives of this blog you might become aware that what I said is not my view but that of gedolei Torah such as Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Rav Chaim Ozer, Rav Sternbuch and others.

  2. > they are very concerned about the welfare of children - but it is less important than being makpid on lashon harah

    I think this pretty much encapsulates the disordered thinking that is so damaging Torah Judaism today.

  3. Reb menashe klien is dead so no shlita applies. Just for the record he was a dass yachid in many of his tshuvos. Aside from the fact that he wasNOT a posek hador. A posek yes a controversial at that but certainly not a posek hador.

  4. I find that same mentality in shidduchim, that many people ,especially the ones who are very careful on lashon horah, won't speak about another person, no matter what,,even when it's to save somebody from having a terrible life with somebody , they consider everything אסור.
    I'm talking from experience, so if you get married and find out the spouse is on pills, has an anger problem or any other problem, don't expect anyone to help you. For some reason, לא תעמד על דם רעיך doesn't apply in many cases.
    And to above, let's get it straight , I'd listen to the blog owner over a posek any day.

  5. Summary of correspondence: His Rav claims that allegations read or heard were lashon harah unless charges were first upheld in beis din based on testimony of 2 kosher witnesses. Questioned whether the average person is allowed to read such allegations on a blog such as mine since they don't need to know and thus the lashon harah serves no purpose.

    WADR, this raises two distinct issues in my mind:

    1. Whether those to whom allegations of abuse are raised directly -- parents, teachers, mental health professionals, rabbonim -- can believe them, at least in part because of lo saamod al dam reiechah and the related toeles of saving the child from further harm.

    2. Whether someone reading about an abuse case in the paper or on a blog, with no connection to anyone in the case and who is in no position to do anything about it, can beleive them. There are lots of people, myself included, who would never have heard the names of those accused of abuse (even the names in other articles in this blog) and now that we have heard about them, it remains nothing more than idle gossip.

    Do any of your sources justify someone in the No. 2 category listening to or believing allegations of abuse against someone?

    1. Tal Benschar, your distinction is exactly what needs clarification. Other questions flow from that, such as:

      May the blog reader now exercise extra caution or skepticism going forward when reading divrei Torah that come directly from the accused or indirectly through the accused's organization or close followers? Would that not be adequate toeles?

      May the blog reader who owns a sefer written by the accused, or extensively quoting the accused, or carrying the haskamah of the accused, now put the sefer into shaimos, feeling that it could be tainted?

  6. Let me rephrase your question.
    Is there anyone in the world who can be certain that information regarding an alleged pedophile in another part of the world will not be relevant ever regarding teaching, rabbi, business partner, marriage etc. We are not talking about necessarily believing the allegations but taking precautions. In sum - are there really two different categories?

    For example Rav Moshe Feinstein justifies violating a doreissa prohibition of Shabbos to save a goy's life anywhere in the world because the possibility that not saving his life will have negative repercussions elsewhere in the world. Why not say there are two types of goyim?

    There was a pedophile operating in Har Nof for a number of years. Due to the concern for lashon harah and modesty - even the information that a pedophile existed in the neighborhood was not widely disseminated.

    I was recently asked about a person - now living in Israel - who was alleged to be a sexual predator in America and elsewhere in the world. The person who asked me was on the alert because of reports that were made on blogs. I checked it out and the danger was real.

    There have been a number of frum therapists who have repeatedly abused clients because the word was not spread to avoid these people since it was lashon harah.

    Please explain how you decide whether a person has a need to know?

    Nida (61a): It was taught: That was the pit in which Yishmael ben Nesaniah filled with the bodies of the dead. As it is written (Yermiyahu 41:9): The pit which Yishmael threw the bodies of the men he had killed by the hand of Gedaliya. But did Gedaliya in fact kill them? Didn’t Yishmael kill them? But since Gedaliya should have been concerned with the advice of Yochanon ben Koreach and didn’t do so he was regarded as if he killed them. Rava said that while one can’t accept as true unsubstantiated lashon harah but you can act to protect yourself.

    Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Yechava Daas 4:60): … In fact this is the way to understand the verse regarding lashon harah. “Do not speak lashon harah but don’t stand idly by concerning the blood of your fellow.” Even though there is a prohibition of lashon harah, nevertheless the second clause of the verse tells you that it is conditional on this not causing harm. Therefore you are obligated to inform others regarding certain matters in order to them to guard against loss and danger. This is expressed in Nidah (61a) that even though it is prohibited to listen to lashon harah but you should protect yourself from the potential danger you hear about. The Rambam (Mitzva 297) says that protecting another’s money is also included in “don’t stand idly by concerning the blood of your fellow.” … Therefore even if there is only a financial loss, one should inform your fellow man in order that he can protect himself from those who want to harm him. And surely when there is a possible danger to an individual or a group. ...

  7. Calling a Spade, a SpadeAugust 1, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    1) Lo Taamod al dam reacha, saving a life precedes and overrides lo selech rochil, especially when there is a toeles, no lo selech.

    2) When reporting to a non jew, no lo selech is shayich.

    3) The Torah teaches us, that no witnesses necessary by meaness a besulo, because the nature of the crime the way it is inflicted e.g. basadeh, there are no witnesses. Loshen hara was not a problem.

    4) Motzi shem ra is so much more severe, and these alleged godol hador Shmiras haloshonikes had absolutely no problem with it, never mind loshon hora. e.g. the Kolko case.

    5) Bakol matzilin, chutz meAvodah zara, Arayos, ushfichat damim.

    6) Habo lehorgech, hashkem lehorgo.

    7) Nafshecho kodmin. may chozis dedamech simka tfei?

    8) Torah states lo teshakru, should Avraham and Yitzchak Avinu have disclosed to Avimelech that it was their wife.

    9) Vochay bahem

    10) What happens in an instance of Hoidoes baal din kemeah edim dameh, and they still hold on to their guns?

    11) These leitzonei hador don't give a hoo. about lashan hara outside of molesters, maaise bechol yom. What about internet, & kol minei telephones they make Stadium assifas to shaygetz them away. Shulchan Aruch states that everything has to be meant leshem shamayim, and that's the least fear they have. What about Finkelstein meat, should they have kept it also quiet? Or do like with the Dohany meat. Did anyone disclose from which stores to stay away. Did anyone mention about kashering dishes? It's all about money, it's all about kavod, nothing more, nothing less. Vehakessef yaaneh et hakol.

    12) Lo selech rochil beamecha, besheoseh masse amcha askinan.

    13) It is analagous with a chasid shoteh, isha tovaat beyam, veatem omrim shira.

    14) The nifga is a vaday, have you ever in your life done something to protect the Public, the children, or anyone for that matter. Where is your concern for the welfare and well being of klal yisrael?

    15) Why can't you use a shabbos goy to spill the beans, didn't you say that it is kosher veyosher, a davar sheyesh lo matirin bekuf nun taamim.

    16) The truth about this loshon hara excuse is to suit your own purposes. Many have negius, since it happens to be their own relatives,
    a) mechapeh,
    b) you are afraid because of shiduchim, nothing to do with being afraid of loshon hara
    c) many amongst those, are themselves such,
    d) mosdos are afraid of suing, see what happened to YU, and how come there isn't any lashan hara there as well even after 30 years.
    e) the Weberman case ran all the way to the top X 2
    f) this runaway Rebbe for bocherim to bet Shemesh, unloading them a tray of sufganiyot, you helped him run away, is again in all the papers, same with Smondrovits, and you are makpid on lashan hara.
    g) you are totally bankrupt, full of holes, a mockery, trying to hide behind a sefer torah,
    h) Megale panim baTorah shelo kehalacha,

    17) Give it up, throw in the towel, you ran out of gas, no one buys your stupidities, nitgaleh klonchem berabim.

    18) Resign now, effective immediately, learn from Rabbi Lamm.

    19) If not for the computer running out of ink and space, we could go on and on forever, vehem lo yichlu.

    20) BTW, before we forget, what happened to Harodef achar hazachar?

    And last, but not least, @ let's get it straight, there is nothing more crooked than a straight ladder. The Torah and Tlmud refers to an expert, when the halacha calls for it. Ani hashem Rofecha, mikan shenitan reshus lerofe. Dr. Daniel Eidensohn has a Ph.D. in these matters, has written volumes about these sickos, Rabbanim consult for his opinion. Now who is the NUT and in the shell?

  8. There is a toeles, I think, in publicizing information not only about alleged perpetrators but about how rabbanim react. If not to be accepted, at least to create a suspicion about those rabbis.

    For example, you are considering sending your son to Lakewood. The way they deal with abuse can be one consideration in that decision. That tells you something (not everything) about the kind of hashkofos your son may imbibe.

    Tal Benshachar wrote of when one is "with no connection to anyone in the case and who is in no position to do anything about it." I question whether determining 'no connection" is that simple.

    ben dov

    1. Take that one step further. Your kids are considering "living in Lakewood", that means your future grandchildren are at risk. Please consider that very seriously! Will you support your children's choice financially and emotionally knowing that your grandchildren will be at risk, and also knowing that "Lakewood" is NOT being run as it was meant to be run????

  9. No one ever said that you can not follow your own Posek, Godol, Psychologist, or other Activists' logic to justify your mission. But don't think for a moment that the other Gedolim do not or did not know about Reb Elchonons, Remas, other Gemarahs, psokim and ALL Halachik views ( or the other "big 20 ramblings" ) etc.
    So state your view and keep the other Gedolim out of it. You still must respect them as if they were or are YOUR posek or Godol. Otherwise one will attribute your view to pure activism as opposed Halacha that YOU decide to follow.

    1. Sorry don't understand what you are saying. If someone tells me he is following Rav Menashe Klein's views on child abuse I will tell him these views are wrong - both halachically and psychologically. And explain why.

      Where does it say that a posek or rabbi views must be respected when you feel they are mistaken? Or are you saying by definition a person must view is rebbe's views as infallible?!

      Bottom line - please tell me the basis of your assertion that I must respect views said by a rabbi that gedolim claim are wrong?

    2. es achay anochi mevakeshAugust 2, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      See Sanhedrin, If a beis din kills once in seventy years it is called a Beis Din Katlonis. How many leiby's and how many yiddishe kinderlach and umshuldige neshomes have perished from their psokim, huh? The bloodwriting is all over the place. Yadeichem shofchu et hadam hazeh, uma yaanu leyom hadin?

  10. It's really distressing when some defenders/protectors of an accused use the rumor mill and every other available form of lashon hara and motzi shem ra and threats to try to destroy victims, the victims' families, and victim advocates. Let them tell us now in some detail what toeles there is in that!

  11. mikan shenitan reshus lerofe. Dr. Daniel Eidensohn has a Ph.D. in these matters, has written volumes about these sickos, Rabbanim consult for his opinion.

    "lerofe", ( for the record, its le'raapos) not to give opinions about gedolim and poskim.
    "has a Ph.D. in these matters" but does not have a PhD in the ultimate psak.
    "Rabbanim consult for his opinion" they may consult for his opinion but they don't all follow his p'sokim or his day'ous.

    1. Why don't you continue the argument, Rabbonim have specialties as well. Some are more informed and involved in Kashrus, some in Shalom Bayis, some in business halacha, some in tahars mishpacha, etc.

      If you have an issue or question of abuse you should never go to a Rav that does not have the proper knowledge or experience in this matter. One needs to speak to a Rav who has the proper understanding of the issue, the danger and the short term and long term damage.

    2. es achay anochi mevakeshAugust 2, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      @ NUT OR SHELL

      Dear NUT without the shell.

      1) Al rishon, rishon. "lerofe", ( for the record, its le'raapos) not to give opinions about gedolim and poskim.

      This is the classic example of Tocho zorek vegam kliposo.
      You just don't seem to get it. "Lerapo'os", is understood of course, provided if it is healable, Brachot 9. However, that is to point out that the Torah relies on the expertise of the Rofeh, bedinei nefoshos onu askinan, of which the lay person has none. It is all through Talmud consulting an expert e.g Kfeila etc. Having said that, most, if not all, these paedophiles are beyond repair outside of, to can them and throw away the key, and THAT'S where their opinions count. Kappish! See the immediate preceding sentence 'mile'ell, the nut within the shell. The Baalei Poskim pick it up from there, and advise Haloche lemaisse 'haderech asher yelchu bam', of which Rabbi Dr. D. Eidensohn only quotes.

      2) "has a Ph.D. in these matters" but does not have a PhD in the ultimate psak.

      3) "Rabbanim consult for his opinion" they may consult for his opinion but they don't all follow his p'sokim or his day'ous.

      Let the record reflect that he never claimed to be a Posek, as you can find in his disclaimer,

      " My blog -Daas Torah has the goal of providing honest discussion and clear citation of the original source material that underlies the issues". You must learn how to read, my friend.

      Here is a bonus for you. Suppose someone comes running to one of those Gedolim, that his son is being pursued by a harodef achar hazochor, do you for one minute think that he will say, NO, I'm sorry, that is total Loshon hara, I DON'T believe it for a moment, and neither does anyone else.

  12. this kind of bizarre and twisted logic has given orthodox judaism a black eye,and is a direct cause of thousands upon thousands leaving it's fold.
    According to this idiotic ruling,if for instance we are told that a certain Jew is going around and murdering other jews,we would not be allowed to believe it because of loshon horah and therefore prohibited from giving him over to the authorities,have we gone NUTS? you really have to be criminally insane to accept such bizarre and abnormal halachik rulings.
    This ruling is a perfect example of what CHAZAL had in mind when they coined the phrase,"KOL TALMID CHACHAM SHEAIN BO DAAS,NEVEILAH TOVAH MIMENOI" a talmid chochom who has no common sense,a rotten carcass is better than him'.how right they are.

    1. A true Jew and a true Rav doesn't hide behind the Torah, he doesn't use the Torah to justify his own misdeeds and those of his own friends.

  13. I'll take empirical data over circumlocution any day. The haredi community overwhelmingly shelters child molesters. If you need to defend molesters, or create conditions under which they might be easily defended or given shelter, you're a demented person. Your religion is sick. Yes, there's a toeles for lashon hara to save someone. So what? Isn't the obvious good enough to do the right thing? Do you think the Gentiles reading your statements and efforts to protect molesters think "Oh yeah, Am Kadosh, Am Kohanim, Or L'haGoyim...". Yeah, right. You guys embarrass yourselves and all of us with this bending yourself into a pretzel to demonstrate the obvious wrong conclusion. Shame.

  14. Willy 4 willy.

    To say that you bring molestation issues in front of them because they have siyata dishmaya, is mamash divrei bela. Does willy chas veshalom mishtatef Kivyachol to the spilling of blood from tinokes shel beis raban? Is this what he calls siyata dishmaya? Oh' no!.
    Li'l willy willy won't.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.