Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hetter L’Issur - When a Jew Falls onto Hard Time

I’ll start this one with a joke (a cartoon I once saw):

One prison inmate remarks to his cellmate, “I got tired of doing the same nine to five. Now I’m doing six to twelve.”

End of jokes.

The concept of prison as a punishment doesn’t seem to faze anybody in our era. Hey, we all play Monopoly. You break the law – you go to jail. And, if you go to jail, you must have broken the law (unless you just happened to pick the wrong Chance card).

It’s as American as apple pie!

It’s not just American. In today’s age, imprisonment as a judicial penalty is a part of every culture that exists. And it goes back a long way. We know there was prison in ancient Egypt – Yosef went there. And there was prison in ancient Bavel – Tzidkia and Yechanya went there.

But we Jews are a bit different than everyone else. We have our own rules. What kind of rules do we have for prison?

The short answer is: none at all. It is not a part of our culture.

However, upon closer examination, we do see some forms of incarceration. There are two well-known examples.

Firstly, the gemara in Sanhedrin 78a/b tells us that we indeed carry out “police custody” and judicial detention pending outcome of a trial or while we see if the stricken victim recovers or succumbs. This is taken from the basic case of assault and battery (Shmos 21:19) as well as the cases of the mekoshesh (Bamidbar 15:34), the mekalel (Vayikra 24:12). In addition, the gemara in Sanhedrin (112a), regarding a deviant city, suggests that each inhabitant is judged and then held in detention until it is determined if there are enough guilty inhabitants to designate the entire city as a deviant city and to apply the special laws.

So we know that our culture supports incarceration for short-term detention.

Secondly, we have the Arei Miklat – cities of refuge. This applies to one who is guilty of what can best be termed reckless homicide. This is a gray area between premeditated murder (death penalty) and totally involuntary manslaughter (no penalty). In a case like this, the perp is not guilty enough to get the chair but not innocent enough to walk. The Torah is very forgiving if a close relative of the victim wants to take him out; but since the perp doesn’t really deserve this, the Torah provides for him a sanctuary where he is off limits to the avenging “angel”.

In this special city, the perp lives a normal life in a real house with his wife and kids, goes to shul and work or kollel (locally) and does not live any sort of prison life. He can go to sleep and wake up whenever he wants. He can go out to parks and restaurants, to the local zoo, and can take out full membership in the JCC. He is merely confined to the borders of that city until the acting Kohein Gadol passes on.

On the one hand, the gemara in Makkos looks at this as a punishment and atonement for his act – a chiyuv galus- but, on the other hand, its name – ir miklat – does not indicate a place of punishment but rather a place that is aimed at protecting him. Thus, it is very hard to call this a “prison”.

In any case, this is something that is unique to our culture although it may have been emulated in autonomous penal colonies that were popular in the French and British colonial era.

But let’s now talk about the real McCoy – Alcatraz, Sing Sing, Shawshank, Ohio State, Penn State (did I mean State Pen?), Phnom Penh, Leavenworth or, most dreaded of all…Maasiyahu. The places where people do “hard time”. Do we Jews have a Halachic concept of doing “hard time”?

Before I go on, let’s try to understand what a prison is and what its purpose in today’s world is. Like everything else, the concept of prison has pros and cons. (Most prisons are full of cons although some of the cons are real pros. And, of course, there are also ex-cons like Ehud Olmert and ex-pros like O. J. Simpson.)

Here are some of the pros:

1.   It keeps dangerous people off of the streets thus making the world a much safer place.

2.   It gives these people lots of time to reflect on their misdeeds and to improve themselves. This is why these wonderful places are called “Penitentiaries” – for here they do penance – and “Correctional Facilities” – for here they are corrected and straightened out – or the Ohio State Reformatory.

3.   It provides dysfunctional people with a home where they can get food, shelter, clothing, and medical benefits at no cost (to themselves) and even play basketball for an hour a day.

4.   It protects people who come from bad neighborhoods from gunfire and only leaves them exposed to makeshift knifes and shoelaces.

5.   It deters other potential criminals from carrying out nefarious deeds, thus reducing crime rates.

6.   It administers justice for the benefit of victims of crimes.

7.   In days of yore, it generated cheap forced labor.

8.   It provides numerous jobs to prison wardens, guards and attendants, perpetual income to defense attorneys on retainer, and overwhelming profits to the private companies that win lucrative state contracts to run the joints.

All told, it is great for society and the economy. Everyone wins…almost.

How about some of the cons:

1.   People cannot live the lives of normal human beings in there (family life) and are forced to do unnatural things and to become “non-human” (if they aren’t already).

2.   It confines them to the company of people who are just as, or even more, dangerous and degenerate than they are. Not much to expect in the way of positive influences.

3.   It adversely affects people’s emotional, psychological and physical health.

4.   It brands inmates officially as “criminals” (jailbirds) which stays with them and gives them no incentives to improve themselves.

5.   It prevents able bodied people from being economically productive for a central portion of their lives. In line with this, it forces the prime portions of peoples’ lives to go to waste which, in turn causes them to waste the rest of their lives.

6.   In line with the previous, if they have dependents, the dependents lose their support base and resort to the resources of the government or community or charities or other relatives for support, thus depleting these resources. In some cases, the dependents resort to criminal means themselves.

7.   X (player to be named later)

A quick look at the Pros list and we notice that only nos. 2-4 benefit the people on the inside. The rest benefit those on the outside. Now, check the Cons list. Nos. 1-3 and 5 affect those on the inside; nos. 6 and 7  affect those on the outside. #4 is detrimental to both sides.

So if you are a criminal or planning to be one, and you want to do a cost/benefit analysis you must compare Pros 2-4 vs. Cons 1-4. As far as I can calculate, if one is a pereh adam from a bad neighborhood, a drug dealer, pimp, M-13er or such, Pros 2-4 vastly outweigh Cons 1-4 and doesn’t make prison look like too bad a deal. So he has no overwhelming urge to try to stay out which bumps out Pro #5 for the rest of us. If he currently is a human being and wants to stay one, he may think twice.

But for those of us on the outside, we need to compare Pros 1 and 5-8 vs. Cons 4, 6, and 7 and make a cost/benefit analysis. Does it really make our world a safer place? Does it really benefit the victims? It seems we are not getting forced labor or chain-gangs any more. And what about Con #7?

It would sure help if we reveal the identity of Con #7. So here it is:

·         It costs an outrageous amount of money!

And the looming question is: who is really paying for all this?
And the looming answer is: You are. And I am. And all the "good guys" in society, including all of those who were victimized by these crimes.

Chicago, Illinois currently has the highest municipal sales tax rate in the US. And do you know where a good chunk of that money goes? Just have a quick peek into Cook County Jail and see your tax dollars at work!

Incidentally, when all those prosecutors work overtime on cases with very weak evidence to clinch a conviction for someone who may not be the right criminal so he can sit in prison at our expense (while the real one stays free and does business as usual), who do you think is paying them to do that?

What comes out is that we – the “good guys” – are (Con #7) footing the bill and (Con #6) sustaining collateral social and economic damage and what are we getting in exchange?

Does it make the streets safer? Are crime-ridden areas any less crime ridden? For all the money we pay, are we now able to walk in Bedford-Stuyvesant? South Bronx? South Chicago? Crown Heights???? And if you live in a low crime area, is the penal system to thank for that?

Does it deter crime?

We take for granted that most people in prison want to get out. This is not always the case. Some folks get very comfortable and cozy there. They’ve got food, clothing, and shelter… on your dime. No worries, mate.  And, believe it or not, there are numerous people on the outside who want to get in. For the same reasons. So they are not really deterred from committing crimes. They may be actually more committed to committing crimes.

Do the other “Pros” benefit us?? Check the list and judge for yourself.

My cost/benefit analysis tells me that prisons are not a good deal. If it was possible, I would move to dispense with them altogether. But there are people who need to be taken off the streets and even a minimal deterrence is better than no deterrence. So we do need them for people who absolutely must be isolated from society.

But to use it as a punitive institution for white collar criminals, petty delinquents, and to serve justice for people who are long retired from criminal activity just doesn’t add up. Hey, I am all for justice, but I am having enough trouble paying for my electric and water. I just can’t afford to pay even more for “justice” that takes and doesn’t give. And, I am a bit resentful at those who demand it on my cheshbon!

The upshot of all this is that incarceration may be a necessary evil but it hurts more than it helps. And, as all “necessary evils”, it should only be employed as a last resort, not the avenue of choice.

So after all this, we see four purposes for modern day imprisonment:

·         To isolate a harmful person from society

·         To try to “straighten him out”

·         To punish somebody for being a “bad boy”

·         To deter others from committing crimes

We can now return to our original discussion. Is there a Halachic concept of prison in our judicial system?

Depends who you ask.

As I wrote, aside from pre-trial detention and Ir Miklat, there really isn’t. The Torah has more faith in the humanistic character of a Jew and presents faster and more effective methods of getting our people to toe the line. In all of our Halachic literature, you will not find such a concept anywhere except…

…in the Rambam. Two places.

In Hilchos Rotzeach 2:5 the Rambam is discussing a confirmed wanton murderer who does not meet the requirements for judicial execution. He writes:

If the king chose not to execute…Beis Din is nevertheless obligated to beat them severely and to incarcerate them under harsh conditions for many years…in order to frighten (i.e., deter) other evildoers…

So here we see a unique Halacha that applies exclusively to murderers who deserve the death penalty but don’t meet all the Halachic requirements for implementation. Perhaps Rambam will apply this Halacha to capital cases of giluy arayos as well (masculine r^pe of a married woman or another man) since the Torah likens this to murder. Still, from this Halacha, all we know is long term incarceration can be used as a substitute for the death penalty where a death penalty is called for.

The second mention is in Sanhedrin 24:9. Here, the Rambam expounds on the rule that Beis Din is empowered to take extrajudicial steps in unusual circumstances when there is a general communitywide breech of proper behavior. He writes:

And likewise the court may shackle one’s hands and feet and incarcerate him in prison and drag him…

In this Halacha we are evidently not limited to a case of capital offense but it is limited to exceptional circumstances when there is a special need. From the source gemara of this Halacha (Moed Kattan 16a) and the way this is presented in the Tur (the only codifier who quotes this Rambam in his work; the Shulchan Aruch conspicuously refrains from doing so) it seems that this procedure was intended specifically to enforce compliance from one who defies the rule of Beis Din and is meant to be enforced only until the miscreant relents and complies.

Interestingly, the source gemara in Moed Kattan only uses the term כפתינן ואסרינן which means to “shackle” and "restrain”. The gemara does not mention that it means to restrain in prison. The Rambam is interpreting this on his own. The Tur concurs but Rashi argues. Rashi in Moed Kattan refuses to define the term “restrain” to mean to imprison. He says it means to tie one to a whipping post to be flogged. Likewise nowhere does Rashi mention anything about incarcerating a murderer for “many years” or at all. This is likewise a chiddush of the Rambam.

Thus, according to Rashi, we have no Halachic grounds for punitive incarceration whatsoever. Perhaps Rashi made a similar cost/benefit analysis.

So, is prison good for the Jews or bad for the Jews? Is it okay for a Jew to fall upon Hard Time?

To sum up, only the Rambam advocates long term prison limited to confirmed but not implementable capital offenses. Both Rambam and Tur seem to advocate some form of prison as an extrajudicial measure but we do not know if it is meant for anything other than a short-term measure to "correct" audacious defiance and to enforce the authority of Beis Din (as opposed to a long-term punishment). Moreover, I think we can safely assume that these extra-judicial measures are only to be employed after the more standard measures - Makkos d'Rabanan - have been undertaken and have not gotten the desired results.

From Rashi, it appears there is no such thing as incarceration under any circumstances.

The non-Jewish secular society is each-man-for-himself. All law-abiding citizens see themselves as the elite “us” and see the criminals, thugs, social misfits and miscreants as the underworld “them”. They erect a glass wall and disassociate themselves from the criminal class and let the authorities deal with them. They don’t really give a d**n what happens to them and there is no reason for them to. They are “other folks”. They casually pay their state and city taxes and assume it is being put to good use. If there is any trouble, the first thing they do is call the cops.

We Jews tend to mimic this relationship with regard to the non-Jews but we are not authorized to maintain this glass partition when it comes to our fellow Jews. Our miscreants are part of us, not a separate nation. Like it or not, they are "family". And we are responsible for their well-being.

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה

One thing we know for sure is that a prison is not a healthy place for a human being. For one who doesn’t qualify as a “human being” it doesn’t much matter. But for one who does, and primarily for one who is Jewish, and more so, one who officially observes Torah and Mitzvos, it is deadly. Firstly, it is a very dangerous place where one is exposed to violent and promiscuous people with no adequate means of defense. Secondly, it takes a tremendous toll on one’s self esteem and emotional and psychological well-being. Thirdly, and as a consequence of the previous, one is vulnerable to depression and the associated lowering of immune defenses and contracting all kinds of illnesses. So, for just about anybody, prison literally shortens one’s life.

And for an observant Jew in a non-Jewish prison, there is no real chance of being able to keep Torah and mitzvohs, proper Kashrus, Shabbos observance, Yom Tov, tefillin, and even saying brachos causes problems. No way to maintain a family life, tznius or family purity (if somehow applicable). And of course, there are countless other spiritual challenges to boot.

All told, prison is no place for a Jew. Not for any kind of Jew. Even the Rambam who advocates incarceration for an inexecutable murderer is talking about a prison under the jurisdiction of a Jewish Beis Din. He may not be overly concerned about the physical or emotional health of this miscreant who should anyway be put to death; but clearly he cannot advocate subjecting any Jew to committing more transgressions than he has already committed. Hey, even if Beis Din is going to feed him barley until his stomach bursts (Sanhedrin 81a), they still have to make sure that the barley isn't chodosh!

Sof davar, barring a situation of pikuach nefesh to other Jews, there is no justification for allowing, and certainly for facilitating, the incarceration of a Jew into a non-Jewish prison. Prison life literally physically shortens the life of an inmate and prevents them from living as a Jew.

Anybody who causes a Jew to spend time in a non-Jewish prison (again, where there is no pikuach nefesh to anybody else) will have to answer for every lost minute, every lost mitzvah, and every forced transgression. Rationalizations such as punishment for past crimes or the quest for “justice for the victims” and "closure" will not do the trick.

It is not “Jewish” justice.

ברוך אתה ה' ... מתיר אסורים!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Petiton Update - Time to Resend the Emails

Five days until Tisha B'Av and the sinas chinam is at its peak.

כל דור שלא נבנה בית המקדש בימיו, כאילו הוא חורבו!

Any generation of Jews in whose time the Beis Hamikdash was not rebuilt, it is looked upon as if they [personally] destroyed it!

It seems that of the two petitions that I referenced in my initial post about Malka Leifer, one of them was "processed" and given over to David Southwick, a very liberal Jewish politician from Melbourne, and was delivered to some Knesset members. This is the larger of the two petitions and is currently marked at 13,159 supporters. 

That is 13,159 people - most of them Jews - who have no first-hand knowledge of events and are quite eager to "sign off" fellow Jews to non-Jewish authorities based only on "pathos" and what they have been fed by other agenda ridden Jews.


It appears that the timing of this delivery is meant to prelude the upcoming Malka Leifer extradition hearing that is supposed to take place on July 30, this coming Sunday (הבעל"ט). Incidentally, I am scheduled to take an excruciating test on Even Ezer II on Sunday (one reason I haven't been writing of late). I hope it's a good day.

In any case, in light of this petition, I am calling on all those who abhor sinas chinam and chillul Hashem to send (or resend) the anti-extradition emails to Ayelet Shaked and Avichai Mandelblit that I called for last year. Hence, I am reprinting last year's email post in full.

May HKBH have rachmanus on all of his sheep and send us a speedy redemption, בב"א.


Suggested Emails to Ayelet Shaked and Avichai Mandelblit

Please send emails to the following addresses:

In the subject line, copy and paste the following:

   לא להסגיר את מלכה לייפר

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Anniversary - Cane Tihiyeh Lanu

Romantic Picture in Honor of my Parents' 60th Anniversary

My parents have an apartment in Har Nof and they are visiting there at present. Both of them like to use a cane when their joints act up. Baruch Hashem, they can dance at their grandchildren's (cane yirbu) weddings without them.

I walked into the apartment this morning and this is what I saw:

They will be married for 60 years on 5 Tammuz, הבעל"ט.

May the next 60 years be just as fruitful and just as sweet.

ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששן ויקר - כן תהיה לנו

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Flirting with Danger

There seems to be a great deal of confusion out there about what is basic Halacha and what isn’t. So, with regard to the Malka Leifer episode, it’s probably a good idea to review the Halachos in the clearest of terms.

1.   It has not been established on Halachic grounds that Mrs. Leifer is guilty of anything. There was no confession and there is even no evidence that there was a crime. Note that not one of her accusers reported an assault, not to the school and not to the authorities, at the time that it allegedly happened. And they were all capable of doing so.

2.   Even if she is guilty of what she is being accused of, the activities are not felonious by Torah standards and don’t call for any extreme penalties. Not even judicial flogging. Claims of emotional and psychological injury to the victims are only personal injury claims and are monetary and not criminal. 

3.   It is strictly forbidden to turn over any Jew to secular authorities for punishment that is not called for in Torah law. This is called mesira and is one of the gravest offenses possible. How much more so if no guilt or crime has been established.

4.   Transporting a person away from his home for enslavement or imprisonment when not sanctioned by the Torah is called “Gonev  Ish U’Mecharo” and is a capital crime.

5.   There can be dispensations to the above two Halachos in the case of one who is currently and actively endangering others (rodef). Yosef’s brothers [mistakenly] thought so about him. [Un]fortunately, in our case, there is no situation of rodef currently in effect.

6.   Even in a case where mesira and or imprisonment could be justified, there is an independent prohibition of transporting the subject outside of Eretz Yisroel. This is extrapolated from the Halacha of the eved canaani in Yoreh Deah 267:85. (Note this is an extension of clause 267:84 which tells us that this prohibition applies in our day and age).

All of this does not add up to a pretty picture. And when you add to all this that the efforts to violate the Halacha with this extradition campaign and all the publicity that it generates is causing a colossal chillul Hashem, R”L, it doesn’t really make this campaign look like a good idea.

These are not “Halachic assertions”. They are basic Halacha. There is no room for debate.

It is sad to see misguided advocates and Rabbinical councils misuse their prestige and stature to fundamentally flaw the primacy of Halacha in the eyes of the Jewish consumer.

It is understood that these folks are having a hard time. Such goodie-goodie Halachos interfere with their agendas. Nobody who likes to talk likes the Chofetz Chaim. He makes life miserable for them. And nobody who wants to extradite likes me. I am making life miserable for them. For them to acknowledge that they cannot extradite our villain is devastating. It’s like I am pouring ketchup on their ice cream.

How cruel!

Of course, there are plenty of bloodthirsty compassionate tzaddikim who know that I cannot possibly be correct. And they are sure to let me know how wrong I am. Thus, one fine Australian Jew who calls himself William or Zev or something (and who doesn’t know when to quit) accosted me (by email):

How dare you contradict 7 leading Poskim who have clearly given a Psak Halocha re Leifer the monster and Rodef.

I called his bluff:

Okay, Tzaddik, let's work on this together.

I want:

·         the names of every "Leading" Posek that was asked

·         who asked them

·         what precisely was asked

·         how they did birurim

·         what was the precise response.

I don't want just seven poskim that you claim I am contradicting, I want every posek that was asked (let's see who I am not contradicitng). Al tapel davar!

I understand this may be a tough job, so to start with, just give me the requested information about the seven you seem to be aware of. Since you already know all the facts, I do not expect to have to wait more than 24 hours for the "start with" information.

His response:

Who in the h*** are you to ask anything??
Needless to say, I didn’t get any psakim from seven “Leading” poskim and not even from one. And it has been way more than 24 hours. Incidentally, I also asked him to name me one single nirdaf of this “monster and Rodef”. No response!

In another email he challenged:

Not 1 Rav of 17 in Melbourne share your opinion.

I shot back:

Not 1 Rav in seventeen saw my opinion.

This should have ended it but this guy kept pestering me. He was telling me that I have no idea what happened and “it was much worse than you can imagine…”

Firstly, I was terribly offended that he was underestimating my power of imagination. That aside, I tried very hard to get him to understand that whatever may have happened can only have an impact, at most, on the first two points of the list of reasons I listed at the top of this post. The other four reasons – the main ones – would not be affected. It doesn’t matter what happened.

I don’t think he got it.

Personally, I had a lot of fun playing ping-pong with this guy. His emails, along with so many comments I saw on some social media sites, show me how shallow and out of touch with reality most of these Australian Jews really are (sadly so). Lots of Americans, too, but the Australians are the main players in this game.

They are mostly what I call “consumers”, not too wise. They are an עם נבל ולא חכם.

How so?

Well, what does Rashi say? He says:

לא חכם: להבין את הנולדות...

They cannot understand what is developing…

In other words, they don’t know what trouble they may be causing for themselves.

It’s clear that the purpose of all these posts is that I sincerely want to see this extradition campaign stopped. Why?

First of all, it’s assur – forbidden. It is against the Word of G-d.

Secondly, it is a colossal Chillul Hashem and, if it isn’t stopped, it will only intensify as new developments take place (and hit the papers). Hey, who knows what could happen if, chas v'shalom, heaven forfend, she goes to the Kosel on Tisha B'Av?

But, lastly, it’s no good for anybody. Nobody will gain from it. And, if my intuition is correct, it’s going to boomerang ('backfire' in American). The people who the masses are meaning to help are going to get hurt.

As I wrote in my [in]famous post: They are flirting with danger.

Some mindless American opportunists taunted me about this. They want what they want and they don’t really care what happens to the Australian community or the alleged victims. As long as my ahavas Yisroel is “patronizing” (i.e., pasul) there is no merit to what I wrote.

But I wouldn’t write me off so fast. I meant what I said and I said what I meant. For a ben-Torah is faithful – 100%!

I said that the victims and the Aussies are flirting with danger. Because they cannot see the nolad. They cannot see what is developing. Allow me to explain:

Currently, they are all standing on the high mountains, thumping their chests, and screaming for vengeance justice.

We must extradite this monster back to Australia so she can face justice and be punished for her horrible crimes. It is for the good of the poor victims. They need closure. They need justice!

And the silly Australians think that all they need to do is scream loud enough and long enough and they will have their way. They will kill the beastie and life will be better for everybody. We are thousands strong against nobody of significance, what could possibly go wrong?

To quote my friend Zev/William: More than they could ever imagine.

They want a lynching and they want a nice clean job. They don’t want any resistance and they don’t want any conscience.

Of course, if a little Who like me tries to scream out, who is going to hear me? Maybe a Horton, the chareidi elephant-in-the-room with nice big ears can hear the sound of the Who, but the sour Kangaroo (and the younger ones too)…they aren’t interested. If anything, they want to boil the Who in oil.

So they think that all they have to do is do away with nuisances like me and their path is clear.

Silly sour kangaroos! They are living in the Jungle of Nool, not in the real world. The real world is a much more unpredictable and dangerous place. So, if I write that they are flirting with danger, maybe it’s something to think about?

Well, what did I mean?

Nobody bothered asking. But I had about five issues in mind.

The first two are what I clearly wrote. I write my blog for G-d fearing people –Yarei Shamayim. So these issues are those that I would expect a yarei shamayim to take seriously.

Issue 1 – There are serious issurim involved here: Mesira, Gonev Ish, Lo Tasgir, and nekama.

Issue 2 – There is a tremendous Chillul Hashem taking place here. 

Issue 3 – If one accepts issues 1 and 2, then they will realize that there is no reason for them to have any siyatta d’shmaya. The aron bris Hashem and Moshe are not with them. They will not succeed. If they do succeed, it is because they sold themselves to the “other side”.

All of the above should rile up any yarei shamayim, people who believe in the 11th principle of emunah that HKBH will punish people for their transgressions. There is serious danger here.

I was hoping this alone would reach the Australian Jews. But it seems to me that most of these Jews, the victims and their supporters, are not really yarei shamayim. So they will not acknowledge this danger.

But they should take heed that there are a number of dangers of a more earthly nature that it would be wise to think about. If one can be a chacham. If one can be ro’eh ess hanolad.

Let’s go back to my friend, Zev/William. One of the more interesting emails that he sent me read as follows:

Some suggesting if you don't drop what you wrote a protest should be organised in front of your home and shule!

My wife commented that this wouldn’t be too difficult since the shule is directly across the street from my house. But I thought I should give him some tips:
Just please tell them to be sure to get a permit and to bring plenty of bail money -- just in case. There is plenty of jail space in the Russian Compound and the government loves bail money.

Unlike Australia, Israel is not a democracy.

Israel is not a democracy. You see, Australians (and Americans) tend to think that Eretz Yisroel is Disneyland. You can do whatever you want here. And likewise they think that they can just demand an extradition of a “bad” Jew and the two governments will make their deals and nobody from the chareidi community will notice (except me).

I think they are making a big mistake. So here is…

Issue 4 – The Australian Community

I don’t know how to read the Australian Rabbinate. I only know that the RCANZ – who seems to be affiliated with Kol V’Oz – are foolishly in favor of this extradition. I don’t know where the RCV stands or anybody else. I suspect that many of the wiser rabbanim know exactly how “misguided” my Halachic beliefs are [not] and are playing neutral. I am sure there are numerous Rabbinic dissenters who are afraid to voice their position. For the moment, Victoria stands united.

We also have a Rabbinate here – more than one, and they have been strangely quiet. It’s not too strange, because there is no reason for them to make any noise here…just yet. This episode does not seem to be on the radar screen of the Eidah or Gur and Vizhnitz.  so we haven't heard from them. Why? Because it hasn’t reached a critical point.

But, if this thing isn’t dropped, it will.

The Eidah and Gur will not support this mesira; especially if it is perpetrated by the “medinah”. Trust me on this. I do not stand alone. These chevra and their kanayim haven’t woken up yet, but if this heats up, they will. When that happens, there is no telling how hot it can get.

What will happen as a result is that all of the neutral Rabbanim in Australia will have to pick a side. The legitimacy of the Australian Rabbinate in the eyes of the Chareidi kehilla in E”Y will be put to the test. And the Australian community will split into two.

Maybe my prediction is wrong, but it is ro’eh ess hanolad. There is no telling how far or serious something like this can get. Why do you folks wish this on yourselves? What do you need this for?
בא וראה כמה קשה המחלוקת

And, finally, we come to the climax of this post:

Issue 5 – The “Victims”

It seems to me that all of these silly Australians live in La-la land and watch way too much television. I don’t know what they watch in Australia but in my days in the US we used to watch Colombo and Hawaii Five-0.

In every episode of Colombo, some prestigious VIP always tried to pull off some brilliantly premeditated murder. Lt. Colombo investigates the case and peels it off layer by layer until he gets the emperor without any clothes. At the end, the crook always shakes Colombo’s hand and says, “Well done, Lieutenant” as he goes quietly into the squad car. Curtain falls.

In Hawaii Five-0 McGarret also figures out the case and corners his man – “Book him, Danno!” Curtain falls.

Everything’s cool. The crook is caught. He’s going to get fried. They'll throw away the key. He’s done. The streets are safe. We can live happily ever after.

This is not real life.

In real life the rich Colombo VIP gets a crack lawyer who destroys Colombo’s case and gets his client off. As for Steve McGarret, his man makes a quick deal with the DA, gets a suspended sentence and walks.

Justice is served.

All of the Australian shriers think that all we have to do is get Mrs. Leifer extradited to Australia and the rest is pattycake. We’ll just lock her up and throw away the key. And Dassi will smile.

Get real.

I don’t know what experience Dassi had in the Supreme court under Justice Jack Rush and I don’t know who defended the Adass shul, but I can promise her that this experience will not be the same.

If Mrs. Leifer is going to be extradited, it must be for an indictable offense. I can’t imagine getting an order of extradition for a summary offense. An indictable offense means a jury trial, which, if my Googling is accurate, must come out with a unanimous guilty verdict.

In short, Dassi will have to convince 12 people that her accusations are true. If not, no cigar. This time she will be going up against a criminal defense attorney. Not an amateur like me, a real one.

Now, even I, the amateur can see all of the flaws in her case.

·  No confession

·  No objective witnesses

·  No physical evidence to establish that any crime was committed at all!

·  No complaint filed at the time of the assault(s). In fact she is claiming four years of abuse but must admit that she never complained to anyone for all those years.

·  She came from a background of domestic abuse

·  She filed a civil suit and was awarded a lot of money

Trust me, whether she gets the conviction or not, Dassi or any other accuser is going to get sliced up on the witness chair. Sliced for her silence, sliced for the previous abuse, sliced for the money she received. The lawyer will suggest that she asked for it. He will suggest that she wanted it. He will claim that nothing was forced, it was all consensual. He will trip her up on inconsistencies. And she will have nobody who can corroborate her stories. And her answers will have to convince 12 people that she is telling the truth.

Twelve people.

Will she get her conviction?

If Mrs. Leifer gets a “fair” trial, I kind of doubt it. On one hand, I have a hard time believing that she can get a fair trial after all this hype and the stigma of suspected child abuse. This is good for Dassi.

On the other hand, a high profile episode may require that the trial be carried out even more “fairly” than usual. This is not too good for Dassi.

All I know is what Shlomo HaMelech – the supreme chacham – told us (Koheles 3:15): והא-לקים יבקש את הנרדף  And HKBH will side with the pursued.

Who is being pursued at this stage?

So, after going through this ordeal, Dassi may get her conviction and she will smile. Or she may not.

And she will cry.

Do you know what happens if somebody is extradited overseas on criminal charges and they are acquitted?

That’s right, they will sue. They will sue big. They will sue early and will sue often. They can sue anybody that participated or promoted or facilitated or spoke out in favor of the extradition.

You want to take that chance? Are you sure you are going to win?

Can anybody here be ro’eh ess hanolad??

So it may be a good idea to review these five issues. You may also conclude that you are playing with fire.

For so many reasons, I think it would be a very good idea to forget about this extradition. Drop it and drop it now. You'll thank me one day.

I will close with the closing words of my keynote post:

Call me a hothead, radical, rabble rouser, lunatic, nutcase, crankshaft, meshugenah, am haaretz, Chossid shoteh, misnaged shoteh, or anything you want (you won’t be the first, just no death threats, please). But…

…ignore my words at your own peril, Shmerel.

You are flirting with danger.