Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Kosher by Association: Intro (again) and Part 2 - Jewish Community Watch and the Love Triangle


Author's note - This post is the second installment, and primary portion of this two-part series. The Intro is identical to that of the previous post. I am reprinting it here for the benefit of readers who have not read Part 1. Skip it if you read the previous post. It is also recommended to see my earlier post on this subject - Your Friendly Jewish Community Kangaroo Court.
Disclaimer - All of the information presented in this post (with the exception of the non-public lawyer's letter) is sourced from information freely accessible on the Internet. If anything claimed here is inaccurate, please contact me and I will be happy to update the information.




Intro


The gemara in Sanhedrin (91a) tells us an ancient fable.


Antoninus told Rebi (Rabi Yehuda HaNasi) that on the day of judgment, both the body and the soul will be able to exonerate themselves. The body will blame the soul and claim it is the soul’s doing, for “from the day it left me, I have been lying motionless in the grave like a rock”. The soul will blame the body and claim it is the body’s doing for “ever since the day we parted I have been floating around aimlessly like a bird”.


Rebi responded with the following fable:


A king had a luscious orchard and needed reliable guards. He stationed a blind man and a cripple to guard the orchard. The cripple would tell the blind man how beautiful are the fruits of the orchard but he is paralyzed and can’t get to them. The blind man said, “I could get to them if I could see them but I can’t see”. The cripple suggested, “If you let me ride on your shoulders, we can reach them together. Let’s do it.” And they did.


When the king noticed that his orchard was pillaged, he accused the guards. Each guard was able to present a defense. “I can’t even see them”, said the blind man. “There is no way I can access them”, said the cripple. But the king caught on to their scheme and understood what they did. So, what did he do? He mounted the cripple on top of the blind man and judged them as one.


Rebi concluded: This is what HKBH will do on the day of judgement. He will throw the soul back into the body and judge them as one.


What we learn here is literally one of the oldest “tricks” in the book. Two parties team up to do some mischief and when the mischief is found out, each one claims the other guy did it and he has nothing to do with it. In fact, he is not even capable of it.


There is more than one way to pull off this trick. One way is the case of Rebi’s fable. The two culprits spent all their time in public as two distinct entities. They only teamed up to do monkey business when nobody was looking. The minute they were done, they went back to being two separate disabled people. Their purposes were served by the illusion of being two separate restricted entities.


The other variation is the exact opposite. It’s a case where the two parties want to appear in public as if they are one entity. The illusion that they are one entity is what serves their purposes at the outset. It is only after the monkey business is discovered that they try to split to two different directions to stay out of trouble. (This is actually closer to Antoninus’s case.)

We all know the term “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. It’s just that sometimes the sheep’s clothes is not just a wool jacket, but an actual live sheep. It’s the sweet old lady or cute little kid in the graft scheme that distracts the jeweler while the sneaky accomplice steals the goods. The “sheep” makes the “wolf” look respectable, but really both of them are wolves.

Part 2 – Jewish Community Watch – We Cannot be Silent
It’s time to move on. The BDA and RCA are not the only “blind” and “crippled” watchmen that are pulling the wool over our eyes. And they are not even the main ones that I wanted to discuss in this 2-part series. 

Recently I have been writing a great deal about an organization called JCW (Jewish Community Watch). In the wake of the Malka Leifer episode they have done a great deal to put themselves on my radar screen, so I have been looking at them quite a bit.

Last November, I wrote a post about JCW titled Your Friendly Jewish Community Kangaroo Court. The post was written in the wake of a podcast interview of JCW Israeli Office COO, Shana Aaronson. In the interview, Mrs. Aaronson was extolling the virtues of JCW and one of her praises was that JCW has “never been sued”. [Side note – I am not so certain that this statement still holds true.]  In my post, I took exception to this claim and wrote that I believe it to be deceptive and misleading (a “half-truth”). This is because, in most cases, there are so many legal, financial, and practical obstacles to filing a defamation suit as to make it too prohibitive to carry out. I went on to present a list of said obstacles. 

At the end of the list, was the following:
In Israel, it is easier to prove defamation but here we have another problem that Mrs. Aaronson has not revealed to us. JCW is not a legal organization in Israel as they have not registered in their business or non-profit registry (Rishut HaTaagidim). Officially, in Israel, JCW only exists on the cloud.

What this is saying is that, here in Israel, JCW has been trying to stay off the government radar screen while trying to make a lot of commotion with the public. As an official “Amuta” (NPO), they do not exist. As such, if somebody feels they have been unjustly maligned and want to complain or call a Din Torah or sue, not only is there nobody to complain to, but there is nobody to complain about!

So, let’s assume that you are a fine upstanding G-d-fearing Israeli citizen named Avrohom Rosenberg or Zalman Cohen or Shimon Amar. There is not an abusive cell in your body. However, you get taunted, maligned and/or find doors closing in your face for jobs or shidduchim (for you or your children) because your name happens to be identical to some alleged offender that is posted on the JCW Wall of Shame without a photo – so nobody can tell by looking that you are not the offender. And if somebody Googles your name, the first thing they get is a link to JCW's Wall of Shame.


Let us even say that this really hasn’t caused you any grievous harm and you are a bit laid-back about it, but your wife or mother has discovered this “coincidence” and she is losing it. You are totally Israeli, you cannot really speak English and you have no connections to the US.

What are you going to do?

Will you call Meyer Seewald in Florida to a Din Torah? So that he can respond, “No problem, let’s go to the RCA Beit Din (of which, Rabbi Blau, who is a board officer of JCW, is a member)”? 

Will you complain to the Rabbinic advisors – to Rabbi Tauber, ten time zones away in California or to Rabbi Soloveitchik, only a mere eight time zones away in Chicago? (Note - JCW does not have a “Rabbinic advisor” or a legal advisor in Israel.) Will you track down Shana Aaronson who is totally unlisted (and will anyway claim that she is just a lowly staff member)?

The reason that foreign based businesses that operate in Israel need to be registered, is to establish a documented presence. This is so they can be held accountable for upholding local laws and local business practices and, of course, to maintain fiscal responsibility. This is essential to protect the public from damages and to protect other businesses and NPOs from unfair advantages. And so, like many other developed countries, the State of Israel has Section 9, Chapter 2 of the Corporations Law (1999) which, in paragraph 346, mandates any foreign enterprise that conducts business within the borders of Israel to register the name and address of the business, to name a director and (paragraph 348) to file an annual financial report.

Government oversight agencies for business practices is an integral part of any civilization. So much so that our Halacha mandates it as well. It’s right there in Choshen Mishpat 231:2 and 231:20 (see Bava Basra 89a). Just like real estate laws, health codes, building codes, fire codes, and traffic laws, we are Halachically duty-bound to comply with them. Ideally, the local Beit Din should oversee these things. But when Beit Din does not run the show, we must comply with the regulations of whoever does. This is where dina d’malchusa applies.

As it stands, there is currently no indication that Jewish Community Watch is in compliance with Section 9, Chapter 2 of the Corporations Law. This non-compliance insulates them from being sued and it also protects them from filing those pesky annual reports where they need to show how much money they took in, where it came from, and where it went to.

Now JCW is undoubtedly an impeccable organization. Just listen to the glowing praises of Shana Aaronson. JCW claims the hechsherim of Rabbi Elchonon Tauber and Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik, and, of course, they are under the direction of Rabbi Yosef Blau. So, it goes without saying that everything they do is on the up and up. [Coincidentally, Rabbi Yosef Blau is also a member of the RCA although he does not seem to be a board member or officer at present. Nevertheless, his son, Binyamin, is indeed an officer – Vice President, Midwest – so, it would seem that the elder Rabbi Blau is an influential player. Small world.] 

It’s unthinkable that such a virtuous organization as JCW should be in violation of Israeli law. With such a hechsher they must be strictly Kosher. But how do they pull this off?

Well, perhaps we can say that they are “Kosher by association”. 

And who might this association be?

Enter…Lo Tishtok (Do Not be Silent).

Lo Tishtok is a relatively nascent, unimposing, Israeli based CSA advocacy group. So unimposing, in fact, that they don’t have any web site at all, and certainly not a physical office. There is nothing more than a Facebook account. They seem to be operating out of someone’s studio apartment in Jerusalem. Their contact is an email address and the personal cell phone number of Racheli Roshgold. They do not seem to be heavy on resources or personnel. Very low key and very low budget.


Moreover, they have no endorsements of any kind whatsoever - Rabbinic or otherwise. Likewise, no Rabbinic or legal advisors. The few staff members have, at most, very superficial professional credentials. (One has a certificate in "sexual health counseling" and another is studying for a Master's in Clinical Psychology. No sign of any professional practice.)


In short, they are a crew of unaccredited amateurs. What we Jews call "heimishe".


But…Lo Tishtok does have one strong point. They are officially registered in the business registry as an Israeli Amuta – Amuta No. 580633840

Lo Tishtok is very closely affiliated with JCW. How closely? 

For one thing, their two main players – Rachel Roshgold and Tzviki Fleischman – happen to appear on the Staff Member page of JCW’s US web site. I call this “sharing resources”. [Note - It seems that the JCW website was briefly offline recently and appears to have been hacked. As of now, they have managed to restore most of their original website. The rare exception is the Staff Member page which, to date, shows no display.]

Moreover, the Israeli JCW website names Lo Tishtok as a “Project” of theirs. A recent article in the Israeli Yisrael Hayom named Lo Tishtok as its “Israeli Branch”. Recent banners, pamphlets and Child Safety booklets that JCW has been distributing in recent events in Israel all display Lo Tishtok as a co-sponsor of their activities.

But the most important thing is that JCW held a marathon 36-hour crowdfunding campaign last December. The campaign was hosted by Charidy.com which seems to be a New York based enterprise (with a branch in Australia, of all places). 

Charidy.com interfaces their site in several languages. The English version of this campaign only mentions JCW and no other organization. This ensures that the funds are for the US based JCW (which probably includes their Israeli “office”) and no one else. I would also assume that the first stop of the money is their American based war chest which is probably some American bank account. [Interestingly, the English language campaign page does not display any kind of Tax ID number for Jewish Community Watch – not US or Israeli (there is no Israeli number, remember?) nor does it even mention Lo Tishtok!]

But if you look at the Hebrew language version – which comes up automatically if you are running on an Israeli ISP – it looks a bit different. The text of the campaign rhetoric starts with a headline that says: Lo Tishtok. It goes on to give some background of the two organizations such that JCW was founded in 2011 and Lo Tishtok was founded in 2014 and the two organizations have “recently united with the understanding that each organization has its own knowledge and capabilities and the alliance between them will maximize their capabilities…, etc., etc.”

What they are saying is that JCW can see and do, but it is not Israeli, so it is a bit crippled. It needs a pair of legs. Lo Tishtok can get around in Israel. They are legal. But they, as unaccredited, unendorsed and unsupervised amateurs, are not so equipped to really see what’s going on. They need some eyes. So, here’s Shana Aaronson and Jewish Community Watch. [Note – Their campaign page includes an embedded action filled YouTube clip of all of the players – Meyer Seewald and Shana Aaronson of JCW and Racheli Roshgold and Tzvika Fleishman of Lo Tistok – having loads of fun playing detective.]

So, the blind man and the cripple get together to collect money in Israel that is [presumably] being banked in America. Is this allowed? 

Well, perhaps it would be okay if the Israeli JCW is registered as an Amuta in Israel. But this does not seem to be the case. Or perhaps it is okay if Lo Tishtok, the legal Amuta, is collecting money for Lo Tishtok. But this does not seem to be the case. Unless

…Lo Tishtok is JCW in Israel. And this is what they seem to be claiming to the public. 

But if this is so, then a disgruntled Israeli who wants to sue JCW, can file the suit against Lo Tishtok!

Can he?

Well, for the moment, there does not seem to be any legal documentation that unites Lo Tishtok with JCW. Also, I am privy to a non-public statement that a lawyer for JCW in Israel has denied any formal alliance. 

Ah-hah! When they are campaigning for money, the cripple and the blind man are “united”. But when they are not campaigning for money, the crippled one stays crippled and the blind one stays blind!

Now, let’s thicken the plot. Lo Tishtok is certainly not collecting the money for Lo Tishtok. They say they are collecting the money for JCW. But, are they?

Well, in the Hebrew version of the campaign page, they do display a tax ID number. An Israeli one. The number is 580528230. But this number does not belong to JCW, nor to Lo Tishtok. It belongs to an organization called Magen Child Protection.

Magen Child Protection is an earlier incarnation of the JCW model first established in 2010. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that it did not maintain a “Wall of Shame”. But this organization has been totally defunct since the summer of 2015. Absolutely no website (except an inactive blog) and a totally blank Facebook page. No office. Emails bounced. All phones disconnected. Nothing. They did indeed file a 2016 financial report in May of 2018 claiming NIS 206,000 (about $55,000) of revenues and operating fees – about half that of the previous year – but no telling what the money was used for. So far, no 2017 financial report and the 2018 report is already due.

One more thing about the now defunct Magen Child Protection. When they did operate, who was their Social Service Coordinator? 

You guessed it – Shana Aaronson

[Update - After publishing this post, a very thoughtful reader informed me that Magen officially closed for business in August of 2017 (again this is after at least two years of inactivity). They sent out an email with this announcement to all their followers. The email states that, "Magen's Victim Services Department has been adopted by the Israel office of Jewish Community Watch..." You can see the email HERE.
So, now it looks like the blind man and the cripple have recruited a third partner - a dead man.
Who do you think each one is going to blame?] 


So we now have Racheli Roshgold and Tzvika Fleishman who work for both JCW and Lo Tishtok, and Shana Aaronson who works for JCW and Magen Child Protection. This is some love triangle!

And now, Lo Tishtok, acting on behalf of JCW, is telling donors to chalk up the donation to Magen Child Protection

Is this legal?

Well, JCW is a fine upstanding organization under the leadership of Rabbi Yosef Blau and has Rabbi Elchonon Tauber and Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik as Rabbinic advisors and Leah Klein, Benny Forer and Alex Zalkin as legal advisors, and in their FAQs they write how much they are dedicated to creating a Kiddush Hashem – so all this must be legal.

Though I am a bit surprised (I am not a Rabbi or a lawyer.)

As I wrote from the gemara in Bava Basra 89a (Choshen Mishpat 271:2 and 271:20), a Beis Din must set up oversight agencies to monitor associations. This is for the purpose of combating “ramah’im” (swindlers – see Bava Basra 89b). Associations team up to share their “capabilities”. If one association is more “kosher” than another, it gives the illusion of making the other one “kosher by association”. 

This actually is how we “kasher” mikvaos; by attaching a “pasul" one to a kosher one. The kosher one makes them both kosher just by virtue of being attached to it. 

But the purpose of a mikveh is to purify people. People come out of a mikveh clean, so nobody has any reason to want to sue a mikveh. But for an entity that is bent on declaring people to be impure and "pasul" and seeing to it that they stay that way, the rules are different.

A love triangle is only as strong as its weakest link. And, in my personal opinion, Lo Tishtok may have a good reason to remain silent.

והייתם נקיים מה' וישראל!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Kosher by Association: Intro and Part 1 (Prenups...again)


Intro

The gemara in Sanhedrin (91a) tells us an ancient fable.

Antoninus told Rebi (Rabi Yehuda HaNasi) that on the day of judgment, both the body and the soul will be able to exonerate themselves. The body will blame the soul and claim it is the soul’s doing, for “from the day it left me, I have been lying motionless in the grave like a rock”. The soul will blame the body and claim it is the body’s doing for “ever since the day we parted I have been floating around aimlessly like a bird”.

Rebi responded with the following fable:

A king had a luscious orchard and needed reliable guards. He stationed a blind man and a cripple to guard the orchard. The cripple would tell the blind man how beautiful are the fruits of the orchard but he is paralyzed and can’t get to them. The blind man said, “I could get to them if I could see them but I can’t see”. The cripple suggested, “If you let me ride on your shoulders, we can reach them together. Let’s do it.” And they did.

When the king noticed that his orchard was pillaged, he accused the guards. Each guard was able to present a defense. “I can’t even see them”, said the blind man. “There is no way I can access them”, said the cripple. But the king caught on to their scheme and understood what they did. So, what did he do? He mounted the cripple on top of the blind man and judged them as one.

Rebi concluded: This is what HKBH will do on the day of judgement. He will throw the soul back into the body and judge them as one.

What we learn here is literally one of the oldest “tricks” in the book. Two parties team up to do some mischief and when the mischief is found out, each one claims the other guy did it and he has nothing to do with it. In fact, he is not even capable of it.

There is more than one way to pull off this trick. One way is the case of Rebi’s fable. The two culprits spent all their time in public as two distinct entities. They only teamed up to do monkey business when nobody was looking. The minute they were done, they went back to being two separate disabled people. Their purposes were served by the illusion of being two separate restricted entities.

The other variation is the exact opposite. It’s a case where the two parties want to appear in public as if they are one entity. The illusion that they are one entity is what serves their purposes at the outset. It is only after the monkey business is discovered that they try to split to two different directions to stay out of trouble. (This is actually closer to Antoninus’s case.)

We all know the term “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. It’s just that sometimes the sheep’s clothes is not just a wool jacket, but an actual live sheep. It’s the sweet old lady or cute little kid in the graft scheme that distracts the jeweler while the sneaky accomplice steals the goods. The “sheep” makes the “wolf” look respectable, but really both of them are wolves.



Part 1 – Prenups (again)

In my past discussions about the BDA prenups and stretching endorsements, I wrote about this trick. I called it “Kosher by association.” I was specifically alluding to one of the three reasons that Rabbi Rosencrantz used to explain why he rescinded his support of the eiruv in “Hammerstone Hills”. It was the one about his concern that the community will combine other eiruvim with the one that he endorses and surreptitiously apply his endorsement to those other eiruvim.

Kosher by association.

A second complaint was that the eiruv committee gave him their assurance that they will monitor the use of the eiruv to make sure it is not abused. This “policing” was not being carried out.

Hence, in my post, I voiced the same complaint against the BDA regarding the conduct of the RCA. The RCA issued a number of resolutions where they specifically mention the BDA prenup. The most recent of which (2016) calls for their rabbis to require (“utilize”) a prenuptial agreement at any wedding where they officiate. This compromises the Halachic integrity of the prenup. In my last post, I was able to confirm that HRHG Asher Zelig Weiss’s partial endorsement of the BDA prenup does not apply to the RCA resolution.

My criticism was initially based on the assumption that, for all intents and purposes, BDA and RCA are one and the same. As I wrote, they are both under the REITS umbrella and the RCA is actually the founding parent of the BDA.  

Yet, one of my anonymous correspondents tried to wiggle out of it using the Antoninus approach. He maintained that, technically, BDA and RCA have gone their separate ways, so the BDA is not responsible for the delinquent behavior of the RCA. He seems to be saying exactly what I felt: one is blind and the other is crippled (I won’t say which is which). Nobody is guilty!

Of course, I wasn’t having any of it. I wrote in my post:

Despite this, it is very hard to say that the BDA does not carry responsibility for these two matters. After all, the two organizations are cousins who share the same last name and are both offshoots of RIETS and they are affiliated and I am not the only person who thinks they are one body (by far). (It's an honest mistake.) Moreover, the BDA prenup is referenced by name in both resolutions. So if they (the BDA) are not backing up these two resolutions, they have an obligation to disassociate themselves from them, just like Rabbi Rosencrantz in the Eiruv saga.

In short, in the public eye they are made to look like one organization, but when there is some kind of discrepancy in their policies (if it really is a discrepancy) they can point to a technical reality that they are two different organizations. Nice trick!

Of course, I wrote all of this before, but in the wake of the teshuva that I recently received from HRHG AZ Weiss, Shlita, I feel much more strongly about this. Like the eiruv committee, Rabbi Willig and the BDA clearly have a responsibility to police their prenup and see to it that it is not abused. At the very least, to be mocheh if it is. And certainly, we cannot sanction the BDA to actually promote the RCA 2016 resolution. Especially right next to where they proudly display a link to HRHG Rav Asher Weiss’s letter. I think something like that would be considered unscrupulous.

Kosher by association.

But this is exactly what the BDA is doing!!

There is something that I didn’t really notice when I had the correspondence and when I wrote this last post. But later on, I rechecked the BDA web site and I saw it now.

It seems that sometime over the past few months, the BDA polished up their website that promotes the Prenuptial agreement. It has a new look and layout. User-friendly navigation. And there it is, right there on their page called: Rabbinic Endorsements.

At the top, they proclaim:

The Prenup has been endorsed by a number of leading poskim (Jewish legal authorities). 

And they go on to list the five poskim who approved of the basic Hebrew text that was written up by HRHG Zalman Nechemia Goldberg back in 1992.

I already complained about this in my last post. Even if it can be established beyond doubt that these poskim would certainly endorse the current English version if consulted, my opinion is that it is deceitful to claim that they endorse the current version if they cannot display a document that says so. The differences in the current version may be negligible, but then again, they may not be. But we can let this one slide.

Right afterwards they again proudly proclaim:

Rabbi Asher Weiss
(Rosh Kollel, Machon Minchas Asher L’Torah V’Horaah)
Click here to see Rabbi Asher Weiss’s approbation of The Prenup

They are claiming that HRHG Asher Weiss has endorsed "The Prenup" (note the capitals). The teshuva that is displayed in the link says no such thing. It does mention Rabbi Willig by name and it discusses which positions of Rabbi Willig he supports and which he doesn’t. Clearly, Rav Weiss is supportive of a prenuptial agreement that passes every test of validity both in the Even HaEzer components and the Choshen Mishpat components. Unfortunately, he never claims to have reviewed the BDA prenup and to have determined that it passes every test. His hechsher is only on the ingredients.

What we do know is that Rav Weiss does not endorse the 2016 RCA resolution (or earlier ones) which mandates their member Rabbis to require a prenuptial agreement when officiating at a wedding.

But, two paragraphs later, on the very same page, there it is:

In 2016, the Rabbinical Council of America passed a resolution requiring member rabbis to utilize a prenuptial agreement when officiating at a wedding.
Click here to view the 2016 resolution

As you can see, the page even displays a link to the resolution, although I think this particular link is disabled. (There is another one you can see HERE).

And then they go and repeat it again:


In 1993 and 1998, the Rabbinical Council of America passed resolutions encouraging the use of prenuptial agreements such as The Prenup. In 2006, the Rabbinical Council of America passed a resolution declaring that rabbis should not officiate at a wedding where a proper prenuptial agreement has not been executed.

[Note – They provide links, but all the links are broken.]

So, I ask, how can the BDA place HRHG Asher Weiss’s imprimatur right next to this list of RCA resolutions if Rav Asher Weiss does not endorse them?

עד מתי אתם פוסחים על שתי הסעיפים? אם הרה"ג ר' אשר וייס הוא הפוסק, לכו אחריו. ואם בעלי ה"RCA" הם הפוסקים לכו אחריהם!

Looks like we caught the cripple riding on the blind man’s shoulders right in front of us.



Stay tuned for Part 2…

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Rerun from Last Year - Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B...Rechilus!


Note -  This post is a rerun from last year, but it has to be repeated! Please bear in mind that the events discussed in the second half of this post occurred a year ago.



The hallmark of Amalek is the concept of “keri” – happenstance or occurrence. The notion that everything happens by chance – there is no Conductor to the orchestra. All is coincidence.

So the Torah says about Amalek: אשר קרך בדרך

They occurred upon you when you were traveling. A coincidence.

Of course we don’t believe in coincidence. As such, the first occurrence of the word keri - קרי - encoded in the Torah as a Sofei Teivos is (Shmos 17:9):

בחר לך אנשים וצא הלחם בעמלק מחר אנכי נצב...

(Note – there are only three occurrences of this word as a Sofei Teivos in the entire Torah and not a single occurrence as a Roshei Teivos)

Coincidence?

Amalek may think so, but we think not!

Hence, Haman was very happy when his lots just happened to fall out on the month of Adar. It was not our best month. Moshe Rabenu died in this month. This is what we all learn in cheder.

But there may have been another reason why Haman was so thrilled that his lots fell out on Adar. Something that we don’t learn in cheder. Haman may have known something else about the month of Adar.

Adar is the month of malshinus, rechilus and loshon hara!

Haman may have known another “coincidence”. There are only two “occurrences” in the Torah where the word Adar (אדר) is encoded as a Roshei Teivos. And one of them is this pasuk (Breishis 37:3):

ויבא יוסף את דבתם רעה אל אביהם

And Yosef brought their evil reports to their father. 

Ther first thing we note is the association of Yosef to this encoded word.

The Arizal writes that each month corresponds to one of the Shevatim. The month of Adar corresponds to Yosef. Yosef was granted two tribal portions and was immune to the ayin hara. As such, the mazal for Adar is Dagim, fish, which multiply freely and are not subject to an ayin hara. And this is why the month Adar gets two appearances on leap years.

But what is the significance of the reference to malshinus?

The commentaries (See Kli Yakar – Breishis 37:26) explain that the brothers conspired to kill Yosef because he was a הולך רכיל. He was a rodef and a moser.

Although their assessment may have ultimately been erroneous, it was not totally baseless. The Torah indeed testifies in our pasuk that Yosef brought the “evil report” to their father. And it had all the divisiveness and ugliness of rechilus. Even though most of the brothers participated in the mechira, they were not of one mind. Shimon and Levy wanted blood. Yehudah wanted cash. The younger ones went along for the ride. Reuven abstained.

The brothers were divided. Each had a different motive.  מפוזר ומפורד. And all this, as we know, brought about the first of a series of bitter exiles.

Such is the price of malshinus. And the hidden word in the pasuk seems to relate it to the month of Adar.

Coincidence?

[Incidentally, the other pasuk where Adar occurs in Roshei Teivos is Breishis 24:30 which states:

ויהי כראת את הנזם ואת הצמדים על ידי אחתו וכשמעו את דברי רבקה אחתו לאמר כה דבר אלי האיש

Here we see Rivka relaying to Lavan what was told to her by Eliezer. Although there does not seem to be anything derogatory or sinful about this exchange, it was nevertheless an act of one person telling over what they heard from another. Technically rechilus. And perhaps it was not so benign as the Midrash indeed tells us that Besuel subsequently attempted to poison Eliezer.

Lots of דיבור in this pasuk. Coincidence?]

Perhaps, Haman, who loved “coincidences”, was aware of this connection. Adar is a month where Loshon Hara does its damage. Adar is a great month to destroy Klal Yisrael

The gemara in Megillah 13b tells us:

אמר רבא ליכא דידע לישנא בישא כהמן 

Rava says, “There was none who could speak Loshon Hara as smoothly as Haman”. And the gemara goes on to relate a lengthy dialog of just that.

Haman was the king of rechilus. The gemara says (Chullin 139b):

המן מן התורה מנין ? המן העץ... (בראשית ג' יא)

Where is a reference to Haman in the Torah? Hamin ha-etz… (Breishis 3:11).

What is this pasuk? Let’s see the whole thing:

ויאמר מי הגיד לך כי עירם אתה המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת  

HKBH asks Adam HaRishon: Have you eaten from the forbidden tree? The Tree of Knowledge? Knowledge of what’s good and knowledge of what’s evil? Knowledge of what’s good about you and what’s evil about “him”?

Have you conspired with the snake? The same snake that Shlomo Hamelech is referring to when he will write:

    אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון  ?

The snake that bites and kills for no purpose?

And who is hiding in this pasuk - in plain sight?

המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת

Yep, this is Haman’s “reference” in the Torah. His Hollywood “credit”.

And what else is hiding in this pasuk? Very well concealed, I might add. You see it? Look. Still not? Look closer:

המן העץ אשר צויתיכ לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת

Rechilus (only such occurrence in the Torah). Haman’s master craft!

כי משרש נחש יצא צפע

From the root of the snake emerged the viper… (Yeshaya 14:29)

עמלק = 240 = צפע  as if to say:  כי משרש נחש יצא עמלק

וירא בלעם כי טוב בעיני ה' לברך את ישראל ולא הלך כפעם בפעמ לקראת נחשים 

Coincidence?

Haman, the star disciple of the snake, understood better than anyone what rechilus can do. And so, he was thrilled that he could ply his trade in the most auspicious month – Adar.

ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפורד

There is a nation that is scattered and disconnected. They are scattered in cliques that denigrate one another…they are guilty of rechilus…

Adar is the month of Yosef who brought evil reports to his father. את דבתם רעה … and caused his brothers to shun and hate him.

Thus, Haman’s plan could only be nullified by a descendent of Binyamin. Binyamin heard the bad reports that Yosef brought and he also knew what his brothers did as a result. This would have been a juicier report to bring to their father. But he was silent. He told nobody.

Binyamin’s stone in the choshen is Jasper – ישפה. Yesh peh v’shosek. He has a mouth and is able to speak, but he is silent. And so his descendant Esther saves Klal Yisroel by: אין אסתר מגדת

Coincidence?

We have learned that the month of Adar is the month of malshinus. We will live or die at the mercy of our tongues. So it was in the days of Yosef and so it was in the days of Haman and Esther and so it is today.

Malshinus, Rechilus, Lashon Hara and Mesira!

The saga and Chillul Hashem of the Malka Leifer episode continues –and grows.

I have summarized the episode numerous times. See HERE for the original post. But, in this post, I want to reframe the episode this way:

Three Jewish women, all sisters, two of whom are non-observant, are spearheading a campaign to extradite to Australia another Jewish woman, who is observant, on the pretense that she molested them ten years earlier. Their intention is to have her judged and punished by the non-Jewish Australian authorities for the crimes that they claim she committed.

To accomplish this, one of the sisters, Dassi Erlich has opened up a Facebook page devoted exclusively for her campaign to moser this Israeli woman to the goyim in Australia. They have also instigated at least two petitions to that were delivered to the powers-that-be in Eretz Yisroel to cooperate in this mesira. In both cases the aim is to enlist the aid and support of ingenuous well-meaning Jews.

The petitions garnered between 16,000-17,000 signatures total; although there were surely numerous duplicates and double-dippers. The Facebook page dedicated to mesira is now holding at 1557 “Likes” – up from 1316 a mere two months ago [update - there are now 3474 Likes].

1557 3474 people “Liking” a campaign to moser an Israeli Jew and citizen to Australia for no toelles except to satisfy these sisters’ quest for personal “justice”. It is certainly not to protect anybody in Australia, and if anybody thinks people are in danger here in Eretz Yisroel, we have a fine, quite aggressive, local police force that serves and protects.

These Jews have absolutely no way of knowing if any of the accusations are true and, even if they are, to what degree. There is absolutely nothing of substance supporting the claims of these three sisters.

Yet it seems that all they need to do is cry “Rape!” and “Pedophile!”, play victim, and point to the villain and, without offering a shred of evidence, they will have hundreds, if not thousands, of do-gooders screaming for the blood of another Jew! Ready, not only to cheer them on, but to actively participate in this bloodletting and to pray for their success.

Just because these three sisters said so!

If this is all it takes to get thousands of Jews, some very observant ones, to ignore all of the Halachos of Mesira, Gonev ish u’mecharo, Lo tasgir eved, and more, then we have a much bigger problem than “child” abuse on our hands. (I am in no way undermining the problem of child abuse.)

Anybody who follows my blog knows that I have been writing about this debacle for close to two three years. My main thrust is that the issue of whether the accusations are indeed true is irrelevant. There is no reason or justification to involve Australian authorities in this matter regardless. And it is only because of the impetus of Jews that it is taking place.

In my previous post on this subject I noted a few facts. One is that the accused Mrs. Leifer had left Australia in 2008 with no intention to ever return. Subsequently, it was only in 2011 – three years after Malka Leifer left Australia and after three years that nobody in Australia was molested or hurt in any way that these saintly Jewish sisters first approached the Australian police and opened up the case. Not the Israeli police, but the Australian police!

These actions instigated the senseless, Halachically forbidden, and arguably illegal (for lack of Prima Facie evidence) extradition request that has generated so much publicity and Chillul Hashem.

And, at least 1557 3474 people are so very proud of them!

Now, here is the latest [2018].

Up to very recently, the extradition campaign has hit a few snags. The main one is that for a while, Mrs. Leifer was able to avoid the hearings by claiming mental incapacity. To most of us (including myself), it seems like a ruse. But I was happy for it because I strongly maintain that this extradition should not be on the table under any circumstances.

At or around February 12 [2018], Mrs. Leifer was rearrested for “obstruction of justice” in the wake of her heretofore successful evasion of the extradition hearings (that should not be held in the first place).

Now, technically, the charges may be legitimate. However, the Israelis are very choosey about when they apply these obscure technical “offenses” and when they don’t. When they want to, they let these things slide. This time they didn’t.

Why?

Because so many Jews put pressure on the government to see to it that a Jewish Israeli citizen is extradited to Australia for crimes for which, aside from the word of the accusers, there is no proof that they ever took place!

February 12 was the 27 of Shvat [5778]. A mere three days before Rosh Chodesh Adar.

Coincidence?

MiShenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha!

And all the Jews on Dassi Erlich’s Facebook page are so-o-o happy! Just look at all of the comments. So happy that “finally” a Jew can get extradited to Australia! So happy that the long-standing mesira may actually bear fruit!

It’s a Purim miracle!

MiShenichnas Adar  - את דבתם רעה - Marbim B’Mesira!

והעיר מלבורן צהלה ושמחה!

The Jews in Australia and in 126 other lands are rejoicing.

And so is the serpent  -  and so is Amalek!

Coincidence? I am afraid not.



And, as for me…

ידנו לא שפכו את הדם הזה...כפר לעמכ ישראל אשר פדית...