Thursday, March 14, 2013

Anticipating the Geula

Wel-l-l-l, it's the third day of Nissan and, although the Pesach rush makes things hectic at home, it is actually quieting things down a bit here at the Har Chotzvim office. This gives me a long overdue opportunity to write.

Now, there have been occasions over the past year that I considered to finally come out of hibernation and post something, but it just didn't happen. One of the main urges came around the issue of the Great Internet Satan and the great Kennes that took place in CitiField last summer.

One reason I didn't take it up is that to some extent I have been worshipping the Great Internet Satan myself (of course I have filters) so perhaps my perspective would wax thin. Another reason is that I really did not have much to add to the outspoken pundits who were already on record.

My overall position has always been that the Internet is just another one of many Para Adumos that we must suffer along our treacherous journey to Destiny. This was totally reflected by the banner slogan that graced the event: We can't live with it; we can't live without it. Of course, I do think it is a great Kiddush Hashem that so many frum yidden took the time and congregated to face up to the hazards of this issue. Yet, I don't think it is especially prudent for anybody in today's generation to pompously declare who does or doesn't get a share in Olam Haba. This is not salesmanship and not the way to win friends or influence people.

Another crucial event was the expose' and trial of various sexual offenders. Primarily the one from Williamsburg. Though I have not been privy to all the details of the case, I am personally of the opinion that the fellow is guilty as sin.

Why?

Because there does not seem to be any dispute that he violated the Halachos of Yichud l'mehadrin min ha'mehadrin. And when basic ABC yichud is so blatantly and wantonly violated, not only is there no chezkas kashrus to the perpetrator, but there is actually a chezkas tumah as we know from the laws of Sotah.

Still, I try to stay away from discussing the sexual issues because, more than not, they are a discussion of human behavior inside of a religious framework rather than a discussion of hashkafa. My game is hashkafa. In other words, I may preach "Being of the chareidi hashkafa is the best because we have the morality laws and only we have the halachos of Yichud to safeguard ourselves and others." Invariably, the kvetchers will point out how much of our morality laws and laws of Yichud are brazenly violated by my fellow chareidim. To which I can only respond, "It's not a problem with the rulebook, it's a problem with the players!" (That's ye olde "Don't judge Judaism by the Jews" defense.)

Of course, the hottest issue of the day is the power struggle in Eretz Yisroel and the mishugoss of "Equalize the Burden" and the resulting coalition crisis.

Now, this should not be an issue in the eyes of any Orthodox Jew because, as I wrote clearly in Chapter 6 of my book, Orthodox Jews are expected to live within the precepts of Pirkei Avos. Pirkei Avos (3:5) tells us:

רבי נחוניא בן הקנה אומר: כל המקבל עליו על תורה מעבירין ממנו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ; וכל הפורק ממנו על תורה נותנין עליו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ.


 

Those who carry the burden of Torah are relieved of the burden of government. Those who throw off the burden of Torah are exacted the burden of government.


 

In short, we have our burden and the secular have theirs. They don't carry ours – we don't carry theirs. Seems pretty equal to me. We have nothing to apologize for. Especially to those who are not familiar with Pirkei Avos and do not even recite Krias Shma (or even Modeh Ani) at least once a day.


 

Notice the word כל which means Everyone. Not 400 students and not 1800 students. It means Everyone who accepts the yoke of Torah, whether it is 600, 6000, 60,000, 600,000, or 6,000,000 .


 

It is sad but not surprising that even some "Orthodox" Jews do not respect the words of Pirkei Avos (as well as do not recite Krias Shma twice a day). These may include such notables as Naftali Bennet.


 

In any case, my observations are that the sincere Torah oriented religious Zionists (RWs) are not currently at odds with the chareidim. Ever since the disengagement they learned that the post-Zionist establishment is not their ally. What comes out is that this army issue is really a religious/secular (believer vs. non-believer) issue rather than a chareidi/NCOJ (beliver/believer) issue. My work is to deal with the latter.


 

With this, to express my feelings about the army issue, I refer you to my dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Moshe Averick, who has taken up the believer/non-believer cause and has written a poignant and well researched essay that speaks for all of us. (Click HERE for the essay – just don't forget to come back!)


 

So, if I didn't come out of retirement to discuss the Internet, sexual deviance, or Israeli politics, what did bring me out of the deep freeze?


 

It is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart and to those of many others --- the Shidduch crisis!


 

As I knew it would, it hasn't gotten any better. There is no reason for it to have.


 

Unfortunately, I have already used up almost all of my window of time for this winded introduction, aside from the fact that this post is already as long as a post should be. Thus, I will sign off from this post and bare my thoughts in the next post which I hope should come out before Rosh HaShanna, bli neder.


 

In the meantime, Chodesh Nissan is here. It's time for a real geula.


 


 


 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why?

Because there does not seem to be any dispute that he violated the Halachos of Yichud l'mehadrin min ha'mehadrin


Even if you somehow come to a conclusion that the man is "guilty" as charged it is not befitting for a Torah-true Jew to support any remedy or judgment in the Secular Justice system. The system is not and cannot be impartial esp. to Religious Jews and incarceration is no cure nor deterrent to other sickos out there, neither is it a just sentence for his innocent family.

I agree that not enough is done communally to stop these predators but the public outcry should focus on the leadership to change that rather than pushing for criminal investigations.

(And that is without going into the problem of plenty cases of false accusations and bogus claims for retaliation and marital disputes, and the burden in these types of cases is technically on the defendant, where people get ruined for life even if they're eventually proven innocent, with the accuser usually having nothing to lose.)

Yechezkel said...

Thank you for your comment.

>> Even if you somehow come to a conclusion that the man is "guilty" as charged it is not befitting for a Torah-true Jew to support any remedy or judgment in the Secular Justice system.

Though I am generally of the opinion to not resort to the secular Justice system, I must draw the line between white collar and/or finacial crimes (money-laundering, tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement) to honest to goodness violent crime (sexual molestation of minors).

>> The system is not and cannot be impartial esp. to Religious Jews and incarceration is no cure nor deterrent to other sickos out there, neither is it a just sentence for his innocent family.

The Jewish community in general and the particukar community in question have proven that they are not effective in keeping a menace to society off the streets.

Furthermore, I am not so interested in what is a deterrent for "other sickos". We need to protect innocent people (and allegedly there were others) from this sicko.

>> I agree that not enough is done communally to stop these predators but the public outcry should focus on the leadership to change that rather than pushing for criminal investigations.

This particular criminal investigation was pushed for by the alleged victim. Not the public. The public should - as you say - push for reform, but victims are entitled to pursue justice.
And if it is not available from the community, there is no option but to resort to the "reshuyot".

>> (And that is without going into the problem of plenty cases of false accusations and bogus claims for retaliation and marital disputes, and the burden in these types of cases is technically on the defendant, where people get ruined for life even if they're eventually proven innocent, with the accuser usually having nothing to lose.)

This is very true and I agree with you in cases where there is no proof of any wrongdoing and - as you say - where the accusers can be guilty of having a personal agenda and "nothing to lose".

None of this is true in this particular case.

1) Yichud, which is an itegral chelek of the "aveira' was clearly established.

2) The victim/accuser who is newly married had a lot to lose (and in many ways lost a lot).

3) More than the above, she (allegedly) had a lot to gain by withdrawing her complaint as reports say she was offered tons of money. She allegedly turned it down because she was after one thing - justice. Which, as a victim (as she claims) she is entitled to.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree. Regardless if in this particular case the defendant was guilty or not, the greater issue is the issue of מסירה and ערכאות.

First you make the claim of protecting innocent people as the justification, then you laud a victims right to justice as an excuse. But both of these claims fail to make the case to allow the notion of using the Justice system which a) is assur, and b) in general does more harm than good. More innocent people are abused and many times destroyed by the System than are relieved by it. Second, a victims right to justice does not, from a Torah viewpoint, give them the right to break the issur of מסירה and to be מייקר שם אלילים.

>>
Though I am generally of the opinion to not resort to the secular Justice system, I must draw the line between...

The distinction is not supported by a Torah hashkafa or halachic authority. If you understand that the system isn't an option for white collar crimes, it is even less qualified to serve justice for other criminal prosecutions or to protect innocent people. Chances of an unbiased jury or bench trial is almost non-existent (esp. for religious Jews), the burden of proof is extremely low and the odds of a person getting a fair trial is close to zero.

You're trying to justify the unjustifiable without any explanation or distinction. The ends of protecting innocent victims do not justify these means.

Furthermore, even if you could make a valid distinction (din rodef etc.), we would first have to present the facts to a Poseik or Beis Din as to the specifics in each individual case if it meets the threshold of such distinction and if it warrants the option of arko'os. (there was actually one case against a private tutor in NY which was already underway in criminal court, and was successfully halted by bringing all parties to a special Beis Din of 5 Rabbonim who after trying the case unanimously held for the nearly disgraced tutor and discredited the testimony of the social workers, the boy's parents and the boy himself and forced the matter out of criminal court).

>> The Jewish community... have proven that they are not effective in keeping a menace to society off the streets
I happen to believe that we're not relatively worse off than any other community out there that is 'protected' by the so-called justice system. With the proper awareness and advocacy towards halachically oriented solutions the chances of decreasing the incident rate will improve.

As to the 3 'proofs' you mention; seriously?! I can't see how one can 'determine' and 'convict' a person to be guilty based on these observations. These same proofs would've never been sufficient evidence in any other criminal case. That this was the basis in this case just proves that in molestation and abuse cases the defendant is guilty until proven innocent. May Hashem have mercy on us.

Also, going back to what you wrote in the original post when basic ABC yichud is so blatantly and wantonly violated... there is actually a chezkas tumah as we know from the laws of Sotah.
I believe you're wrong there. There is no chezkas tumah by 'stirah' itself unless there was proper kinui b'eidim, and even then it's a sofeik that needs mei sotah to give the verdict.
(see בית הבחירה למאירי סוטה דף ב עמוד א
וכן כאשר נסתרה עמו בפני שנים לא תאסר גם כן כאשר לא הזהיר אותה רק בדבור לבד )

Yechezkel said...

This debate can go on forever. Actually, in my post, I only took a stand on whether I think the defendant in this case is guilty or not. I did not take a stand on "the greater issue". It was only in my reply comment that I did any kind of justification for the "means".

As far as that goes, I see your arguments as one side of the dilemma for when an actual event is in progress (R"L) and some of what I said as the other side of the dilemma. Ultimately, the dilemma will remain a dilemma and cannot be easily dismissed.
Ideally, I certainly concede and maintain that any legal action can only be conducted under proper "Rabbinical supervision" and I wrote a post that insisted on just that: http://achaslmaala.blogspot.co.il/2009/05/genie-of-ochel-nefesh-and-markey-bill.html .

Yet, I must also concede – although with great consternation - that in today's generation of "פני הדור כפני הכלב", those who have no confidence in the Halachic judiciary and יש להם על מה לסמוך