Friday, March 26, 2010

Dayeinu

These past few years, the chareidi community and its leadership have been providing innumerable lessons to the world about the way a Torah-True Jew lives his life. Let us be grateful to them for all the many things they have taught us all!
  • If they had only been wise enough to ban music that has electric guitars, but had not boycotted a store that had a sheitel advertisement in the window, it would have been enough to show us their greatness!
  • If they had only protested against a store that had a sheitel advertisement in the window, but had not felt it was inappropriate for a magazine to carry an ad for an eyebrow-shaping service, it would have been enough to prove their wisdom!
  • If they had only felt it was inappropriate to advertise eyebrow-shaping, but had not publicly revealed that they were ignorant of basic facts about reality, it would have been enough to demonstrate their brilliance!
  • If they had only publicly revealed that that were ignorant of basic facts, but had not referred to drug smuggling yeshiva bochurim as holy, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only referred to drug smuggling yeshiva bochurim as kedoshim, but did not feel it necessary to restrict men and women to different sides of the streets, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only felt it necessary to restrict men and women to different sides of the streets, but not demand that women sit at the back of buses, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only demanded that women sit at the back of buses, but not beat them when they didn't, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only beat the women when they didn't sit at the back of the bus, but they didn't stone or throw acid at them when they didn't meet the extremist standards of modesty, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only thrown acid at women who weren't dressed to their satisfaction, but didn't break into peoples homes and violently attack innocent women, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only attacked innocent women, but didn't nod and wink at all the financial indiscretion they knew was going on in their community, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only nodded and winked at all the financial indiscretionss they knew about, but had not confessed to finding Bernie Madoff a more inspiring individual than Captain Sully, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only praised Madoff, but not publicly admitted that it was halachically ok to cheat on one's taxes as long as you don't get caught, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only admitted that it was ok to cheat on one's taxes, but refrained from holding an event dedicated to business ethics where the tax cheating Spinka Rav was given a place of honor, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only given kavod to the Spinka Rav, but had not also at that event honored a man who unjustly caused a charity to lose half a million dollars, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only honored a man who unjustly caused a charity to lose half a million dollars, but were not involved in granting special treatment to chassidic prisoners, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been granting special favors to Jewish prisoners, but had not tried to destroy an innocent persons reputation and livelihood, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only destroyed an innocent persons reputation, but had not banned a book that tells the truthful history of their gedolim it would have been enough!
  • If they only had banned a book that tells the truthful history of their gedolim, but had not covered up decades of child molestation in their community, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only covered up decades of child molestation, but not fought against a bill that would help bring justice to victims of molestation, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only fought against a bill helping abuse victims, but had not issued a psak beis din admitting to witness tampering in an effort to help an accused molester, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been guilty of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, but had not demonstrated utter disregard for a victim of molestation while showing overwhelming support for his molester, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only shown overwhelming support for a convicted molester, but not chosen to vociferously advocate on behalf of a cold-blooded killer, it would have been enough.
  • If they had only chosen to vociferously advocate on behalf of a cold-blooded killer, but not been virtually silent when a most prominent rabbinic figure was caught in a scandalous adulterous relationship, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only stood by silently when one of their most prominent rabbinic figures was caught in an scandalous adulterous relationship, but had not been frozen with inaction as a rabbi who made efforts to combat the rampant child abuse was bullied into silence, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only done nothing as a rabbi who made efforts to combat the child abuse was threatened into silence, but had not been silent about their chief rabbi's involvement in having a teenager kidnapped and beaten, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been silent about the chief rabbi's involvement in kidnapping a teenager, but did not support rabbis who fraudulently manipulate hundreds of thousands of dollars from emotionally vulnerable devotees, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only extorted money from emotionally vulnerable devotees but had not laundered money through their yeshivas, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only laundered money through their yeshivas, but didn't operate a kosher meatpacking company that was found guily of fraud and child labor abuses, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only supported the convicted head of a scammy shechita company, but did not also operate an underground organ trafficking operation, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only operated an underground organ trafficking operation, but had not had a prominent rabbi caught extorting millions of dollars from a hedge fund, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only extorted millions of dollars, but had not allowed their constituents to violently riot because of a parking lot open on shabbos, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only allowed their constituents to violently riot on behalf of a parking lot, but not to riot on behalf of a woman who starved her own child, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only rioted on behalf of a woman who starved her own child, but not staunchly proclaimed the innocence of a man who murdered his own baby, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only proclaimed the innocence of a man who murdered his own child, but did not defend one of the worst child abusers in recent history, it would have been enough!
Dai-dai-yeniu… dai-dai-yeniu… dai-dai-yeniu… daiyeinu, DAYEINU!!!

(PS: If you want to pass this on to friends, I made a handy, easy to remember shortened URL for you to use: http://bit.ly/dayeinu.)

Update: Added the part about R' Dovid Cohen saying it was ok to cheat on one's taxes.
Update 2: Added the witness tampering psak and the show of support for a convicted molester.
---
Photo credit: flickr user mhaithaca.

If you appreciate this blog, please support it by checking out some of the sponsors, or if you'd like to directly enhance my holiday enjoyment, feel free to get me something from my wish list.

42 comments:

The Hedyot said...

Dearest Readers -
Feel free to add your own stanzas.
:)

(Reminder - Please do not post anonymously.)

Sick said...

Wow, it's nauseating to see it all in one place. Overwhelming.

P.S. said...

Oh wow thank you...

G*3 said...

Ditto what Sick said.

frumheretic said...

Brilliant post. I would also have fit in the Motty Elon scandal and coverup, as this shows that the RZ community is not exempt from despicable behavior. Not a scandal, per se, but also Yitzchak Ginsburgh's ideology, which promulgates the entrenched notion in Chassidic circles that non-Jews are subhuman.

Jewish Atheist said...

Great idea for a post. It would be great to see it go viral on Facebook or something.

The Hedyot said...

I'd love for it to go viral. Spread the link around: http://bit.ly/dayeinu

Derech Acheret said...

Shcoiech! A fantastic nachas list!

TikunOlam said...

This is so awesome! Going to read it at my Seder :)

Mark said...

DAYEINU is right. We should all add this to our sedarim.

Mark

stop the non sense said...

Typical anti Rabbi propaganda blaming everything any individual Jew has ever done on the Rabbi's, 85% of this list has nothing to do with any Rabbi just stuff done by individuals who happen to be frum but some how all frum yidden especially the Rabbi 's are blamed for it, just a bunch of non sense written with loads of hate and very little intelligence

The Hedyot said...

First of all, I never said anywhere that everything is all the fault of the rabbis. What I did refer to was, "the chareidi community and its leadership".

Secondly, a good portion of those responsible for the activities mentioned here are indeed rabbis, and prominent ones too! To name just a few: Balkany, Spinka Rebbe, Avi Shafran, Tropper, Abuchatzeira, Avrohom Schorr, Chaim Kanievsky, even Elyashuv (regarding Slifkin). Are you saying these people aren't rabbis?

Lastly, and most importantly, these actions and policies are not simply random incidents perpetrated by some isolated individual. They are all the product of the societal attitudes of extremism and narrow-mindedness which have, for the last thirty odd years, been cultivated by the entire chareidi rabbinic establishment.

Keep sticking your head in the sand if you wish, but the rest of us are going to call it like we see it.

Ichabod Chrain said...

DH
I didn't follow all your links, but did you cover Sholam Weiss, who's doing around 845 years to life? .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholam_Weiss

"Stop the nonsense" might have a point about some of the things you mentioned, but as you implied, the problem seems to stem from the core. So okay, most frum people aren't like that, but you're not criticizing most frum people--you're criticizing a system that prides itself on its morality yet creates incentives and tolerates those who do immoral things as long as they're frum enough or support frum institutions.

Ichabod Chrain

Off the Derech said...

>most frum people aren't like that

I wouldn't be so sure.

AW said...

Creative idea to frame, at this time of the year, Charedi misbehavior in the traditional Dayeinu model.

On a slightly different note from the comment by "stop the nonsense," I would point out that for fair context it should be noted that the same Dayeinu exercise cataloguing abuses, could be constructed for any other group--whether religious, ethnic, political, professional, etc.. Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, secular society, Americans, French, Germans, Israelis, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, Wall St. traders, big business, insurance salesmen, the medical profession, pharmaceutical companies, and on and on. In many cases, of course, the list would be far worse than that constructed for Chareidim.

I assume that the Hedyot agrees with this, but is writing from within--and to counter--the Charedi context of their claim to being morally superior.

Still, I think it worthwhile to add comparative and wider context explicitly--especially since, in our busy and distracted lives, what does not get stated outright is overlooked by many.

The Hedyot said...

> I assume that the Hedyot agrees with this, but is writing from within--and to counter--the Charedi context of their claim to being morally superior.

It's not that I think they're not morally superior. When a community and its leadership is as complicit and responsible for so many of these transgressions as they are, I think they've forfeited the right to even call themselves moral at all.

JF said...

Great post! One thing that you should add is the incident in which Rabbi Dovid Cohen, who is a leading chareidi rabbi, publicly said that you can cheat on your taxes as long as you will not get caught. I heard that he subsequently told people that you can ignore the halachos in the Shulchan Aruch that require you to follow the dina dmalchusa. This was all reported in the Jewish Week and he was thrown out of the RCA for his statements but the chareidi world has done nothing as far as I know. This is much worse than turning the other way in the face of criminal actions by chareidim as in this case one of the leading Rabbinic figures in the chareidi world publicly said that this kind of behavior is ok. At least the RCA did the right thing and threw him out and the people of Teaneck did the right thing by exposing him.

The Hedyot said...

JF -
You're right! I had thought about that at one point, but somehow it slipped past the final draft. I added it in. Thanks.

AW said...

Hedyot writes:
"When a community and its leadership is as complicit and responsible for so many of these transgressions as they are, I think they've forfeited the right to even call themselves moral at all."

The problem with engaging in "all-or-nothing-thinking," in neither seeing degrees of morality and immorality, nor putting one's critique of one culture in context of the performance of other cultures, is not only that it's imprecise thinking. It actually can begin to erode the quality of one's moral judgment.

To say that chareidim have "forfeited the right to even call themselves moral at all," not only is demonstrably not true--because in some ways chareidim do up uphold moral standards--it also leaves no room on the moral spectrum to distinguish between chareidim and suicide bombers or Nazi stormtroopers.

Your post, overall, has merit--but, in my opinion, it would do you good, and earn you deserved intellectual credibility, to employ subtlety and moderation...and to put things in a wider, and fair, context.

The Hedyot said...

> ...it also leaves no room on the moral spectrum to distinguish between chareidim and suicide bombers or Nazi stormtroopers.

This is true. And I didn't mean to imply that because I wouldn't call them moral, that I would say they are as immoral as those which produce suicide bombers. "Not moral" could also mean amoral.

But I think you are engaging in the same all or nothing thinking. Nazi Germany had many aspects of it which were moral. It wasn't all immoral. Even Hamas, whose ideology seems to be synonymous with murder, is well known for providing many social services in the Palestinian community. When referring to a society as immoral, it's not because we don't recognize any moral qualities in it whatsoever, but rather because the immoral aspects were so overwhelming that it overshadowed any redeeming qualities.

I'm not saying that chareidi society is wholly morally bankrupt. Maybe using the words "not moral" is imprecise, since it implies immoral, which I wasn't intending to go for. But to fault them for simply not being as "morally superior" as they claim they are minimizes the moral low to which they have sunk. In so many ways, as a society which promotes certain attitudes, they are far worse than the average non-Jewish society they so love to condescend to.

Yes, the chareidi community has various moral qualities which they can be proud of (their g'mach services, their kinship, their focus on education, etc.), but their frequent and systemic transgressions reveal a rot which has so permeated their society that to consider them in any meaningful way "moral" seems absurd.

I can't imagine that in any other context, one would consider moral a society that tacitly promotes violence and misogyny, demonstrates a total disregard for financial integrity, protects child molesters to preserve its reputation, and views non-Jews (and even non-chareidim) as having less worth than they.

In what way are they at all moral? Because they lend out cribs to their neighbors?

Fern Chasida said...

Awesome post! It's unreal when you see it all listed like that.

jewish philosopher said...

Have you got a song for scientists too - "If they would have gunned down there collegues in a staff meeting, it would have been enough!"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_University_of_Alabama_in_Huntsville_shooting

Dayainu!

Another idea:

"If every half wit anti-Orthodox blogger would fully disclose his identity so that I could pick apart every rumor about his personal behavior - it would be enough for us!"

Di Di aynu!

Undercover Kofer said...

JP: Is this all you could write as a response?

Hedyot: a gem of a post!

jewish philosopher said...

I'm just saying it shows such strength of character to ridicule people who are different than you are while hiding behind a shield of anonymity. Awesome.

The Hedyot said...

Do NOT feed the trolls!

jewish philosopher said...

In Jewish skeptic speak: troll - anyone who disagrees with me. Because you know you have no good answer.

Just smoke another joint. Who cares about truth, right?

kirk said...

jewish philosopher,

Specious argument at best. The devotees of Charedism believe that all of these terrible things are perfectly alright. Organlegging, baby-raping, fraud, child labor abuse, cheating, theft, murdering women and so on. They defend the monsters. They come up with excuses for them. In many cases here they idolize them and continue to turn to them for moral guidance.

You cannot name one single scientist who would defend that murderous nutjob or who calls her a "tzaddik". Like all sane people they think she's a deranged murderess and roundly condemn her actions. Compare this to the idolization (and I use that in the absolutely literal sense) of Rubashkin, Grossman, the Satmar drug smugglers, the Charedi who murdered his baby or the one who starved her children, the Satmar who banged his daughters like cheap gongs and the monster who was just deported from Brazil.

spock said...

Hedyot, I wouldn't call what the Charedi do "education". It is more lifelong memorization and regurgitation. Originality is heresy. Questioning or any sort of analysis outside of what is officially sanctioned will get you excommunicated. Facts must always give way to doctrine.

That's not education. That's brainwashing.

green said...

Awesome post!

ed said...

brilliant!

Dovid cohen is a standout version of an immoral human being.

zach said...

Yeah, JP, I'm sure that DH wants you to know his identify so that you can harass him like you have done to others. Asshole.

JRS said...

AW: excellent posts. I also find the lack of nuance disappointing. Some bloggers make fair, important points about shortcomings in frum society, but they, and those commenters who roar approval---all of whom presume a stance of relative objectivity or rationalism, "speaking hard truths', etc.---almost never challenge or try to qualify one another on matters of degree, to say, for example, "I agree with the gist of your post, but we ought not generalize recklessly about orthodox Jews any more than we would about blacks or gays," or "Yes, the tendency to rationalize occasional misdeeds is scandalous, but frum society still has a moral edge in this or that area..."

---nor do they typically bother to deny the rants of those obviously biased posters who take it much further, venting knee-jerk "anti-frum" views without nuance or restraint, such as Off The Derech, who merely indulges in juvenile sniping at frum people.

This winking at intellectual dishonesty undermines the moral & intellectual higher ground implicitly staked out by the blog, because it makes it seem like knocking Jewish orthodoxy, rather than looking at the hard facts, whatever they turn out to be---is the theme of the blog.

It reminds me of the sophisticates at NPR who present a superficially professional, neutral stance when discussing Israel, but refuse to interrupt or challenge the most rabid, anti-intellectual, libelously anti-zionist callers, as if that, too, "furthers the dialogue." It's as if stretching or misrepresenting the facts is OK, as long as you're headed in the same general socio-political direction.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

When ‘dayyanim’ and ‘rabbis’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this behaviour is utterly abhorrent.

No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ - even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.

Therefore, the ‘rabbi’ and ‘dayan’ will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.

The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Am Yisrael can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

1. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may use lies. They turn the innocent into the guilty, and the guilty, become the innocent. They will not hesitate to tell lies in the Synagogue.

2. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may steal. They steal and siphon off money for themselves, from the community and individuals.

3. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may shame a Jew in public, even repeatedly. This is one of the most vile acts of murder in Jewish law – and they know this.

4. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ will not hesitate to use Lashon Hara - the ‘Evil Tongue’ - to suit his own ends. Slander and gossip. This too, is one of the worst acts of murder in Jewish Law. Their slander is never challenged by the community, because they hold positions of power. And the slander may begin with the Rebbetzin herself.

5. The ‘dayanim’ and ‘rabbis’ worship idols and other gods. Their only god is Money. Especially the ‘Dayyanim’ – the ‘Judges’ who sit on a Beit Din. They only care about their high incomes and retirement packages. They have little or no love for the Torah or Hashem.

In the case of Lubavitch/Chabad, all their rabbis are carrying out a form of Avodah Zarah – strange worship. They are using mediation and intercession. This is completely forbidden, and against the Torah. We are only allowed to pray to Hashem, directly ourselves.

6. When the NAME of Hashem has been taken in Vain – repeatedly - by reshaim, the ‘rabbi’ will turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the

CHILLUL HASHEM.

This behaviour by so-called ‘leaders’, is utterly abhorrent.

This is an extremely severe and dangerous situation.

There is NO forgiveness for this evil sin and aveirah.

7. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may also offer large bribes, tell lies and bring False Witnesses – when he in fact has committed the crime. These are heinous acts of the most despicable kind. This is especially vile when the ‘dayan’ is sitting on a ‘Bet Din.’

8. The ‘rabbi’ may commit adultery. And when he gets divorced, he may spread slander about his own ex-wife, blackening her name – when in fact he was at fault.

9. The ‘dayan’ and ‘rabbi’ may also desecrate Shabbat – if it suits him. He will use physical violence to assault another Jew or Jewess at any time. This evil and venomous behaviour is 100% against the Torah.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

A further word of advice regarding those who masquerade as a ‘dayan’ ‘rabbi’ or false ‘mekubal’:

1. These men may knowingly and willingly, deliberately deceive a Jew or Jewess. e.g. in the area of shidduchim, or offering to perform a ‘pidyon nefesh’.

This abhorrent and deceptive behaviour has caused tremendous harm to people who are innocent and trusting.

2. Do not ever ‘kiss the hands’ of these men (which they might offer to you in public).

3. And do not be duped into queuing and waiting, to see them for their ‘brachot’ (‘blessings’). They peddle ‘brachot’ purely for their own selfish gratification and ‘kavod’ (‘honour’).

Their duplicitous behaviour is nothing short of deception and cunning. In short they are abhorant and causing so much harm to amm israel. They prey on the vulnerable, and those who are naïve, unsuspecting and trusting of these pedlars.

Lady-Light said...

Just saw this, a tad late. What you list is a chilul Hashem, and it is not what Orthodox Judaism is (or should be) about.

These instances of abhorrant behavior should be exposed and expunged, but the core of Judaism (Orthodox Judaism)is good, and should be kept.

And a note to Tikun Olam (with 1 "k", as opposed to MY Tikkun Olam blog): it is inappropriate and NOT the correct forum to read this post, as important as it is, at the Pesach Seder.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

Lady-Light:

The author of the post has actually begun a Kiddush Hashem. And what he has exposed are the numerous acts of Chillul Hashem being committed by Jewish 'leadership.'

The more you brush this ra under the carpet, the more it grows.

It needs to be dealt with.

And by 'cleaning up' the rot, this is what brings more peace to amm israel.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

We are commanded in the Shema to:

‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
“Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

“Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

Lady-Light said...

Eliyahoo, I think you misunderstood my intent. I meant (it wasn't very clear-sorry) that the actions & ideas which were exposed were a chilul Hashem, NOT the post itself!

I just don't think it should be read at the Pesach seder, that's all.

And I still believe the core of Judaism is solid, and good.

Undercover Kofer said...

LL: And some people still believe in Santa Claus. That doesn't prove they are correct.

Noe said...

PLEASE do this again?...so much has gone in since May 2010...Noe

sdr said...

If they had only forced men to give their wives gittin and not beat them senseless and charged $100K it would have been sufficient.