The asifa, which is being sponsored by community askonim, will be focusing on the timeless (but also all too timely) theme of "Vi’asisa hayashar vi’hatov." It will feature two distinguished rabbonim - Harav Avrohom Schorr, shlita, and Harav Dovid Ozieri, shlita; as well as two respected legal experts - Benjamin Brafman, Esq. and Jacob Laufer, Esq. I will be serving as the evening’s chairman. We will start with Mincha at 7:15 and then proceed with the program.This is without a doubt the biggest load of crap I've heard since Shafran's contemptible defense of Madoff. "To distinguish between conduct that conforms with dina d’malchusa and conduct that does not?!" What the hell does that even mean? It sounds like he's saying that because people don't realize that these things are actually assur (forbidden) due to dina d'malchusa, unfortunately some bad mistakes have happened. Riiiiight... because without knowing that dina d'malchusa forbids it, it's understandable that someone would find it acceptable to cheat the government, launder millions through charities, bribe officials, and engage in illegal organ trafficking! (Not to mention sexually molest children, grant special treatment to prisoners, defend abusive parents, smuggle drugs, abuse immigrant workers, violently riot because of a parking lot opening on shabbos, and protect pedophiles - just some of the recent crimes that have been perpetrated by ultra-orthodox people in the past few months.) Sure, it's a lesson in conforming to dina d'malchusa dina that people need - people like the Spinka Rebbe, who was busted this past year for money laundering and tax evasion. If only he had known the halacha!
Introspection about how to better live our lives in consonance with Torah ideals is always timely. It is particularly timely during the days leading up to Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the fact that we remain in Golus, and the reasons why.
And in the wake of recent headlines and front-page photographs that made every feeling Jewish heart ache, it is even more timely for us to take a good, hard look at our obligations to our fellows, to our society, to our government.
I don’t think I can adequately convey how compelling this gathering should be to us all. But I am confident that you realize how vital it is that we hear words of mussar and chizuk, and that we learn to distinguish between conduct that conforms with dina d’malchusa and conduct that does not. I am also confident that you understand how important it is to demonstrate to the wider world how heartfelt and determined Jews respond to news like the tragic tidings of recent days. Tomorrow night’s symposium and our attendance are an important part of that response.
The hypocrisy of these people is utterly astounding! They can’t even acknowledge the problem they claim they want to address! Why can't they just say it like it is?! To admit what everyone knows is really going on?! Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone at the Agudah actually said the following: "We need to take a close look where it is we've gone wrong if every other week another rav or frum person is being busted with crime after crime. We need to consider how the view that we've promoted throughout the last few decades (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) - that the goyim don't really matter and that it's ok to disregard them, cheat them, and lie to them, as long as we don't get caught and cause a chillul hashem - might actually be responsible for all this awful behavior. We need to acknowledge that the fact that the Otisville prison looks like a heimishe bungalow colony says something very disturbing about our society. And that few frum people seem to be bothered by this is even more disturbing. We need to admit the painful, ugly truth, that - to paraphrase Shakespeare - something is truly, very rotten in the state of Chareidistan."
Of course, this would never be said in a million years. Why not? Because the attitudes and behaviors that have produced this dysfunctional rot have been taught to scores of frum people as part of the one True Torah Derech (TM). I guarantee you that every person who commits one of these crimes, or defends those who have done so, can find some rav or halachic source to justify his behavior. Just look at the recent debacle over R' Dovid Cohen's statement that it's ok to cheat on one's taxes. Although many in the MO world spoke up against this, the chareidi world was mostly silent, and in fact most of the discussion that I saw from those quarters was defending him. The fact that the Agudah doesn't even have the guts to openly refer to the problems which need addressing just proves how disingenuous they are about actually fixing them. The simple, yet disturbing, truth about all this is that they won't ever really address these issues because so many of their constituents, and their leaders, don't really see these attitudes as problematic.
And let's not forget this little gem:
I am also confident that you understand how important it is to demonstrate to the wider world how heartfelt and determined Jews respond to news like the tragic tidings of recent days.Hahahahahaha! What a freaking joke! Yes, we have to make sure that the goyim know we’re very upset about all this. Damage control! We wouldn't want them to draw any conclusions from this tragedy about the disregard that our society has viewed them with these past few decades! You know, Rabbi Zwiebel, it's funny you should mention how Jews respond to these things, because until this week, whenever I heard a frum guy share with his yeshiva or shul buddies some ethically questionable shtick that would save them some money, all I heard in response was admiration of his clever yiddishe kup! (Who in the frum world hasn't knowingly winked at the ingenuity of the camp administrator who bussed in loads of kids on the day the inspectors were coming for a visit?) Where was the chareidi community's moral outrage when their criminals weren't being paraded in front of the whole world?
As usual, they profess an earnest sense of remorse and self-reflection:
Introspection about how to better live our lives in consonance with Torah ideals is always timely. It is particularly timely during the days leading up to Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the fact that we remain in Golus, and the reasons why.As DovBear so eloquently put it, the reason the Temple was destroyed was because the leaders of Jerusalem were pious frauds, who used the Temple to justify their selfish behavior.... In the language of the Prophet, they did not "Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, [or] plead the case of the widow." They didn't protect the vulnerable or defend the rights of the innocent. Instead they just kept showing up on the Temple Mount, day after day, with their fat bulls and incense. While vulnerable people went exploited and unprotected, the leaders of Jerusalem gathered on a mountaintop to pay lip service to God.
They say they want to take a close look at themselves. Well, how about taking a look at this? One of the featured speakers at this asifah, Rabbi Avrohom Schorr, is one of the fundie nut jobs behind a lot of the banning thuggery that goes on in the chareidi community! Yes, the man who unjustly caused damages in excess of $500,000, and tried to ruin an innocent man’s reputation is going to lecture to them on the theme of "Vi’asisa hayashar vi’hatov!" The person who publicly humiliated Lipa Schmeltzer by rushing the stage at a wedding and grabbing the microphone away from the singer is going to speak "words of mussar and chizuk" to the community!
On Tuesday, these god-fearing people will gather to, in their words, "take a good, hard look at our obligations to our fellows, to our society, to our government."
I honestly can not wait to see what they discover.