Monday, December 28, 2009

Am I Expecting Too Much?

A Guest Post By Henoch (posted by E. Fink)

BACKGROUND: This was submitted to me via email. The author lives in a "black-hat" community, sends his children to top tier Yeshivos, before entering the workforce worked in Chinuch as a Rebbe in a Yeshiva and is a supporter of Torah and Chesed organizations.

We have gone almost 2 weeks since the news of the EJF scandal broke. It is alleged along with solid evidence that a Rosh Yeshiva who was the gatekeeper for geirus to Klal Yisroel was personally involved with prostituting and inappropriate behavior with a potential giores. In addition there are many unanswered questions regarding Rabbonim and others who enabled him and continue to enable this organization to bully geirim, potential geirim, and batei din.

A very frequently mentioned theme in both the Torah and Tanach is the horrible idea of the powerful and privileged taking advantage of the weak and helpless (ger, yasom, v’almanah.) This scandal typifies the elite (or leaders by their silence condoning) extorting the underprivileged.

The Gemara Sanhedrin 19a,b tells of the wicked King Yannai who was summoned to trial by Shimon ben Shetach. When the trial began Shimon ben Shetach told Yannai to stand so the trial could begin. Yannai responded by saying that he wanted to see which other judges demanded that he be brought to trial. At that point all the other judges started looking at the ground and pretended that they hadn’t summoned him. Their punishment was severe, and Yannai went on to kill numerous Rabbonim. Ironically Yannai spared Shimon ben Shetach because he respected him and his courage.

I have yet to hear one single Yeshivish Rov or Rosh Yeshiva who has condemned any of this. Am I asking too much by expecting to hear some outcry that these activities are out of bounds or unacceptable? I asked these exact questions to a Rov in my community and was given a strange array of answers:

"Everyone knows already so what’s the point"
"Since he is finished anyway, why bother"
"We’ve known about him for years"
"Yes, probably something should be said"

The organization itself released a statement which merely says something like “Rabbi X is leaving, we thank him for his good work, we now welcome in Rabbi Y.” All is well, life goes on….. I have asked many people about this incident and about a third of them had no idea about the story. Another third said that if no Rabbonim have come out forcefully, it probably isn’t true and is just lashon hara. The others felt that it is an outrage but differed as to how to react.

I believe that the silence creates the impression that our community can tolerate anything and evil won’t be condemned especially when it involves people who are in “the club.” This is our community. Do we have any standards? Where are our leaders? Who are they protecting? Am I the only outraged person regarding this silence? Am I expecting too much?

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