Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chofetz Chaim disagrees with Rabbeinu Yona about lashon harah said in public

The Chofetz Chaim states that he built his understanding of lashon harah on Rabbeinu Yonah.
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(Introduction to Chofetz Chaim):

"I have taken these halachos from all the scattered places in the Talmud and the writings of those who have issued rulings concerning lashon harah. In particular from the Rambam, the Semag and Rabbeinu Yonah's Shaari Teshuva - who have illuminated our eyes in these halachos."

"The reader should not find it astounding that even though my entire sefer is based on halachic principles and conclusions, but I nevertheless cite in a number of places proofs from Rabbeinu Yonah's sefer – Shaarei Teshuva which is a mussar book [not halacha]. That is because if one examines Rabbeinu Yonah's words in a number of places it is clear that he was very careful with his words and they do not deviate from the halacha. In particular this is true concerning his writings about lashon harah. In fact everything he wrote there is a source in the Talmud as I will explain G‑d willing in this sefer. However he is very sparing in his words and he doesn't cite his sources contary to the practice of Rishonim. Nevertheless, in most cases I did not depend exclusively on the rulings of Rabbeinu Yonah – except in circumstances where a leniency could be inferred (and this is true for other Mussar books)."

Chofetz Chaim (Lashon Harah Be'er Mayim Chaim 10:7.1-23): The majority of this Kelal (10) is drawn from Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuva or his views cited by Shitah Mekubetzes.
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 However it is interesting to note, that when dealing with the leniency of the gemora [Arachin 15b] that negative words stated in the presence of three people or said before the person - are not considered lashon harah - he significantly deviates from the view of Rabbeinu Yonah. Futhermore the Chofetz Chaim does not acknowledge this disagreement and in fact he claims that Rabbeinu Yonah supports his view as do all rishonim - except for the Rambam.

This is not simply an esoteric hair splitting issue. This leniency of the gemora which is clearly supported by Rabbeinu Yonah according to its plain meaning - is one of the major justifications to allow newspapers and blogs. 

The Chofetz Chaim (2:2-3) claims that the gemora is only talking about those things which are ambigious and therefore can be understood as lashon harah or as innocent words (avek lashon harah). The Chofetz Chaim states that saying ambiguous statements in the presence of 3 is permitted - and that this is agreed to by all rishonim and poskim (See Clall 2 Be'er Maim Chaim 1) - except the Rambam [and the Maharal].


 However it is clear that Rabbeinu Yonah did not understand the gemora as the Chofetz Chaim did. Furthermore - contrary to the Chofetz Chaim - the Avodas haMelech says it is a dispute in the poskim whether it applies only to avek lashon harah.

 Rabbeinu Yona (Shaarei Teshuva 3:228): Now it is necessary to think deeply about this matter to understand its root. We have said previously that it is permitted to speak despairingly about a sinner because of the wrong which is in his hands, if it is known that he has not repented. Thus it is permitted to degrade sinners that steal or rob, or cause damage or oppress, humiliate, embarrass, shame or slander others. This applies also to those who do not return what they stole or do not pay for the damage they have caused or have not asked forgiveness for the harm they have caused others. 

However those who want to do things in the best way will first speak with the sinner in the hope that they will succeed - by chastising him - to get him to repent his evil ways. However if he adamantly refuses then they can publicize his ways and his evil deeds. There is an important reason for first chastising the sinner – [even though the halacha doesn't require it]. If he publicly disparages the sinner after he has discovered the bad things that the sinner has done and he explains from a variety of perspectives why these deeds are so bad – then the speaker will be suspected of simply being a slanderer who is concerned only of destroying the other's reputation. People will say, "Even if what he says is true, the proper thing is to try and correct the sinner by educating and chastising him first." From the fact that he didn't first chastise the sinner, the listeners will suspect that the speaker would not have said such derogatory things in the sinners presence but would have flattered him instead ["Yet let no man strive, neither let any man reprove" Hoshea 4:4] – and thus view him also as a hypocrite. Thus they will say the speaker was solely motivated by the pleasure he gets from talking about the guilt of others and he rejoices in their transgressions and thus he feels he gains honor by degrading others – when not in their presence. Consequently he is viewed as simply a gossiper and the dust of slander clings to him.

However there is another reason for chastising the sinner before condemning him. If he fails to chastise first it is possible that the listeners will think that he is lying and that he simply made up all the slander and that is why he didn't first reveal his claims directly to the sinner but concealed his words from him.

This principle of first chastising helps explain (Arachin 15b), that everything which is said in the presence of the one being talked about is not considered lashon harah. In other words if one first openly chastises a sinner for his deeds and the sinner doesn't repent, then it is possible to publicize the transgression of the sinner and his bad character – because the speaker will no longer be suspected of being motivated simply by the desire to destroy the reputation of another person.

Similarly, if the speaker has an established reputation of not being biased against anyone and not flattering anyone. If he will not talk differently about a person whether he is there or not - meaning that everything he will say when not in the person's presence is the same as when he is. And furthermore that he is not afraid of any man and he has a reputation for always telling the truth. In such a case he will not be suspected when speaking about another man's sins - even when the sinner is not present. This idea is alluded by our Sages (Arachin 15b), Rabbi Yossi said," 'I never said a thing and turned back". In other words, "I never said anything about a person when he wasn't there which I would have suppressed if he had been present. Similarly (Arachin 16a), "Everything which is said in the presence of 3 people is not considered lashon harah." In other words, "Since I made the statement in public therefore it will become known by the person I am speaking about and therefore it is like I said it in his presence."

Chareidi MKs condemn attack on soldier in Beit Shemesh by Chareidi extremists

Arutz 7   Hareidi extremists attacked a reserve soldier returning home from the front Monday, according to several reports, as he came home to Beit Shemesh to visit his parents and pray at a local synagogue. 

"His two children were very frightened," an eyewitness told Walla! news Tuesday. "The extremists cursed him, threw stones at his car, and ordered him to leave the neighborhood." 

The incident unfolded on Hillel street at about 10:00 pm, according to the report. The extremists called the reservist a "Nazi" and "vermin." 

Several other eyewitnesses told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that friends and neighbors of the reserve soldier condemned and apologized for the incident, helped him recover and offered to pay for the damage. 

The District Police has opened an investigation and "are expected to make arrests." 
Several hareidi MKs sharply criticized the incident Tuesday, with some even going as far as calling the extremists "terrorists." 

"There are limits," Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri said Tuesday morning. "The attack by Jewish extremists on a soldier as he prayed in synagogue is an act of terrorism." 

"They should be treated as we treat terrorists," he continued. "A hand that raises itself against a soldier should be smacked." [...]

Motti Elon is honored speaker: Dealing with sexual predators in our neighborhoods.

 JPost - Elon convicted of sex crimes agains minors

The notice below highlights a major problem. What do you do with a child molester/sexual predator and how do you interact with him on a daily basis. What honor can be given and what access to children and women? 

This applies to people such as Dovid Weinberger, Elimelech Meisels, Mordechai Tendler, etc etc. Once upon a time when such crimes were either swept under the rug or the perpetrator banished to someone else's neighborhood - not much thought was given to this problem - because it officially didn't exist. However with the major change in the last few years, we now have sexual predators who are highly talented, personable and well known - in our neighborhoods - even as next door neighbors. There is no mesora for how to deal with these child rapists, adulterers and predators. What should be done? In addition how do you react to people such as Rabbi Druckman who insist on giving honor to predators such as Motti Elon and/or insist against clear evidence that they are innocent?

update:  Hannah @AMotherInIsrael 
I took the picture and posted it on my blog. Not sure why it appears here without credit or link. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Shaal Avicha by Rabbi Yoel Abraham - complete sefer

  שאל אביך   see previous post   Was siruv justified?

The file is free for downloading with the permission of the author. Click the link at the top which will take you to SCRIBD. Then simply download by click on any button which says download

What this war is about and why talk of 'proportionate force' is irrelevant.


American Gedolim against religious coercion by Israeli Gedolim


Confirmed! It's a forgery.

The signatures of Rav Yosef Rosenblum, Rav Dovid Feinstein and Rav Shlomo Miller also look forged.

It's also almost impossible that Rav Refoel Shor got involved in a communal matter such as this. He doesn't get involved in communal matters, especially if means criticizing others.


Kikar haShabbat

Was the siruv justified - against the sefer Shaal Avicha - by Rav Kaufman's beis din?

I was requested to post this information which you should examine carefully.
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Guest Post

Complete sefer can be downloaded with this link

WAS THIS SIRUV KOSHER AND JUSTIFIED? OR JUST A BLATANT CASE OF CRONYISIM?


Attached you will find a PDF of a sefer recently issued About Oz Vihaddar Publishing company

And the Siruv against this sefer By Rav Kaufman’s Bais Horaah /Rav Chaim Flohrs Kollel of Monsey NY 

OVERVIEW AND BACKROUND INFO:

The 300 page Sefer authored by Rabbi Yoel Abraham(with Haskomos of 5 prominent Rabbonim) containing a Halachic Discussion regarding the Many Textual Changes made to the Targum al Hatorah In their recently  published Chumasim .

The Sefer titled Shaal Avicha is a Birur Halacha seeking to enhance and reinforce our Mesores in Targum which is the mesores of Rashi Hakodosh and Rabenu Gershom and Rabenu Tam of the Chachmei TZORFAS (France and GERMANY)

And to  Dispute the many  changes made in all the new seforim and chumashim issued by Oz Vihadar who relied on the Targum of Taimon  and svtina  which was historically  questionable and Not accepted by orthodox Mesores  of Ashkenaz and even many Sefardim   only by Maskilim see the details in the sefer.

The Question is why? And How A Siruv was issued By Rav Shlomo Zalman Kaufman? 

And If Rav Shlomo Zalman Kaufman who has an existing working relationship with Rabbi Leifer who is the owner of Oz Vihader and also happens to be the owner of Rockland Mikvaos where Rav Kaufman was recently appointed to join Rabbi Leifer as an additional Rav Hamachsir of several Mikvaos (of course through the efforts of Rav Chaim Flohr’s longtime relationship with Rabbi Leifer) And the real question was Rabbi Kaufman working to protect his friend ?

Attached you will also  find an open letter ‘MICHTAV GOLOY’ by Rabbi Yoel Abraham  Astounded at the unbelievable Siruv rapidly issued by Rav Kaufman and detailing exactly each step as it happened with copies of all documents and the dates so you can judge for yourself whether or not  this Siruv is Kosher !

What’s astounding also is that Rav Gold was pushed out of the bais din because he was one of five Rabbonim who gave Haskomah to this sefer so he was considered by rav Kaufman not to be impartial

Yet Rav Kaufman himself and his Cronyism with Rabbi Leifer did not affect his own impartiality!!!

THE REAL Question now is is How can we now rely on these Rabbonim for the Hechsher on the Mikvah!! If this is what transpired

נזדמן לידי המכתב גלוי הנכתב ע"י הרב המחבר דבר ה' במחזה שליט"א, וכאשר קריתי בו ראיתי בתוכו כמה וכמה תמיהות, ואמרתי אשיחה וירוח לי.

ראשית כל, אם האמת אתו, אין כאן שום מקום לדין תורה, דדין תורה אינו אלא בדברים שבין אדם לחבירו, ולא בדיני איסור והיתר וכ"ש לא בדברים שהם יסודי הדת, וכמו שמובן לכל בר דעת דאין שום מקום לעקל או להזמין לדין תורה למי שמפרסם על סוחר אחד המוכר נבילות וטריפות בשם בשר כשר, או למי שמפרסם על ירקות של קאמפאני אחד המוכרן בחזקת נקי מתולעים, שיש בתוכו תולעים, או למי שמפרסם על מאגאזינען שהם מלא מינות ודיעות כוזבות ואסור לקנותן, בטענה ותביעה שהמה גורמים להם נזק רב, וכמו שידענו מרב אחד שהכריז ברבים שסוחר אחד מוכר דגים טמאים, והדבר ידוע.

ואם הוא משקר ואין האמת אתו, אין שום צורך לטרוח על זה הבי"ד, התובע יברר הדברים כשמלה שהוא משקר ובודה הדברים מלבו, ומוציא שם רע עליו, ויפרסם הדבר לרבים, ואם אין היכולת ביד התובע לברר הדברים, על זה אפשר לקבוע ישיבת בי"ד שיבררו הדברים, אבל אין צורך להזמין הרב המחבר הנ"ל על זה, דהא ספרו נכתב בבאר היטב דברים מפורשים, הן דברי התובע, והן דבריו מ"ש עליהם, ויעיינו הבי"ד בדבריו, ויפסקו לפי ראות עיניהם מי ומי ההולכים עם האמת, ועל דבר זה נראה שהרב המחבר שליט"א מרוצה להכניס לפנים משורת הדין, לבוא לברר דבריו הנכתבים בעל פה לפני הבי"ד.

והשנית, מה שכתבו בהעיקול שהוא מפרסם כתבי פלסתר, לא ידענו מה זה כתבי פלסתר, הלא אינו חוזר וכותב רק דברים שהם בעצמם כתבו בחומשיהם, והרב המחבר חתם עצמו על כל מה שכתב, ומה זה ועל מה זה נקראו כתבי פלסתר.

והשלישית, אם הוא השיב תיכף ומיד שהוא מוכן לילך להבי"ד של בית הוראה, למה נתאחר הדבר לחתום שטרי בירורין מיום ד' תמוז תשע"ג עד כ"א אדר ב' תשע"ד

 !

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rivky Stein & Yoel Weiss:The Jewish Press withdraws its support for Rivky Stein's "beit din"

Guest post by RaP

Rivky Stein loses credibility by the day. The pro-Aguna organization ORA has disassociated itself from Rivky Stein's "beit din" then conflicting posts have stated that, first on Rivky Stein's page that her self-appointed "beit din" address is at "72nd" (also happens to be the same street address as a Chabad house there) while someone on this blog has stated that they have called that Chabad house and they deny a connection with any "beit din" on its premises! Truly mystifying self-contradicting information that awaits further clarification!

Now comes The Jewish Press which for many weeks has added the name of Yoel Weiss to its "SERUV LISTING" -- that is up until the Friday 18 July, 2014 edition (page F1), while the latest edition of The Jewish Press, the Friday July 25, 2014 edition (page F1) has DROPPED the name of Yoel Weiss from that same "SERUV LISTING" column! Why?

What was it that has made The Jewish Press do that? After all, they have been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of Agunas against recalcitrant husbands for decades, essentially pioneering the use of Jewish media as a weapon to publicly shame and thereby force stubborn husbands into coming to genuine batei din and giving their wives a get.

The Jewish Press does not mince words. Every week, on its "F1" "FAMILY PAGE, Naomi Mauer and Shandee Fuchs, Editors" starts with a "warning": "Attention Readers! this section contains sensitive topics and should be monitored"

and continues:

"SERUV LISTING

The names below are Mesarev Ledin or have been Harkhakot D'Rabbeinu Tam [sic].

A Beth Din has issued a seruv against each person listed below for a) withholding a Get upon being order [sic] to grant one, b) refusing to appear before a Beth Din in matters pertaining to a Get, or C) otherwise failing to follow the order of a Beth Din in matters pertaining to a Get. For the Halachot [sic] regarding how one should treat a person who is Mesarev Ledin, please consult a competent Orthodox [sic] rabbi."

[then in the July 18th, 2014 edition it lists nine names and the batei din that are dealing with them. At the bottom of the lists it states:]

"YOEL WEISS of Brooklyn, New York, issued by Beit Din Zedek of Marine Park and Mill Basin, March 2014"

However, the latest July 25, 2014 edition of The Jewish Press DROPS that last name and there is absolutely no mention of either "Yoel Weiss" or the so-called "Beit Din Zedek of Marine Park and Mill Basin"!!

What does that mean? Is The Jewish Press now also making a "typological error" and inadvertently leaving out that information that it has been posting for a while now? Of course, waiting another week will tell if that was a "mistake" of if now even a famous pro-Aguna advocate like The Jewish Press has added its tacit admission of being fooled and duped by printing things based on falsified information by retracting the mention of the name "Yoel Weiss" and of a "beit din" and its actions that does not exist in the real world. If so, will The Jewish Press also issue an explanation as well as an apology? Hopefully!

Stay tuned, time will tell, and it will not all that long either!

Conservative Movement joins Reform in call for proselytizing

Wall Street Journal   Mr. Eisen is chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

I believe that Jewish institutions and their rabbis should actively encourage non-Jewish family members in our midst to take the next step and formally commit to Judaism. 

To some this may seem a surprising idea. It is well known that Judaism has not been a proselytizing faith. Historically, Jewish authorities were wary of potential converts. The rabbis sought to make sure that converts were motivated solely by devotion to the God of Israel and the desire to join the people of Israel. Conversion purely for the sake of marriage was disallowed.[...]

I am asking the rabbis of the Conservative movement to use every means to explicitly and strongly advocate for conversion, bringing potential converts close and actively making the case for them to commit to Judaism. I am asking Jewish leaders to provide the funding needed for programs, courses and initiatives that will place conversion at the center of Jewish consciousness and the community's agenda.[...]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rav Steinman: We are to pray for all soldiers - even the Shabbos transgressors!

Kikar haShabbat



וכשרצו לעורר מבחינות אחרות, הגיב רבינו "סאיז דאך יידישע קינדער - ארחמנות..." - 'הרי הם ילדים יהודים, ורחמנות עליהם'.

כמו כן, על הטענה שיש כאלו שאינם שומרי שבת, לא ויתר מרן הגראי"ל ואמר שצריך להתפלל גם עליהם. וסיפר מעשה שהיה עם מרן הגר"ח מבריסק זצוק"ל שפעם אחת היה גזר דין מוות על אחד מאנשי "הבונד" והיה צריך הרבה כסף כדי לשכור לו עורך דין, ועמד מרן הגר"ח זצוק"ל "בעצם יום הכיפורים הקדוש" ואסף כסף כדי להציל אותו, ובאמת הצליח להצילו ממות.

הרי לנו שאף לאחד שהיה ידוע לרשע, טרח אותו גאון וצדיק כ"כ כדי להצילו, ואנשי הבונד היו ידועים "לאפיקורסים ממש".

Seminary Scandal: Character witnesses are irrelevant in verifying abuse allegations

update: Rabbi Karlinsky wrote:

My article was directed to “observers”, both for those who had positive experiences with an accused, who on that basis reject the possibility of the allegations being true, or those having to decide whether to engage with him, who will use the (sometimes significant number of) character witnesses coming foward. It in no way is meant to reflect my opinion on the workings of a Dayan. But if you are interested in researching what the proper approach is for a beit din, you may want to see Shut Shoel U-Meshiv (Kama) sec.1 #185, arguing that a court accepting testimony in areas like this is NOT governed by the usual practices governing removing a person from a presumption of kashrus. The standards demanded of an educator or Rabbi ARE higher than for an average citizen. While it is not "guilty until proven innocent", claims made by women with lots to lose, and which reveal a pattern that experts recognize as predatory requires the accused to clear his name if he wants to continue in a Rabbinic position.
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From my book Child and Domestic Abuse Volume II. this is accepted as halacha l'maaseh
Sho’el U’Meishiv (1:185): Rumors spread about a certain teacher who had lived in that city for 8 years. Children that he had taught while they were young and now were 13 years or more older testified that he had sodomized them when they were younger. The previous summer a certain G d fearing man found out about this and was outraged and informed the rav of the community. However the rav did not want to accept this testimony… However the Maharik and the Terumas HaDeshen wrote and the Rema rules in Shulchan Aruch that in a situation where kosher witness are not necessary - then even a woman or child is believed. If so, in this matter it is definitely impossible for there to be adult males and it is impossible for there to be testimony in the matter. That is because without a doubt this man – even if he is wicked and dissolute – keeps his deeds secret and he only amuses himself with small children and claims he is only playing with them. Therefore it is obvious that they should be believed. However we are not trying to disqualify him from being a witness or making an oath but we only want to be able to say whether he perhaps did this. Our Sages said in Nida (61) that while it is prohibited to believe lashon harah, the concern aroused by it is required. And in Mo’ed Koton (18) they said that regarding bad talk – at least some of it is true. Therefore woe is to us that in our days such a thing happened that a man like this should be a teacher of children who are pure creatures and there is concern that he violated them. Therefore in my opinion it is appropriate to remove the crown of teacher from his head. They need to be concerned for their souls until he completely repents with appropriate afflictions and only then can he considered a full member of the community and it will be an atonement for his sins. Furthermore as long as he hasn’t confessed his sins then repentance is not possible as the Tevu’os Shor wrote in siman 2…. But in this case where there is testimony – even though it is not from kosher witnesses it is worth more than rumors and it is obvious he should be prevented from getting students to teach.

===================================
Cross Currents    by Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky Dean and Rosh Yeshiva of Shapell’s/Darche Noam Institutions: Yeshivat Darche Noam/ Shapell’s and the Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya College of Jewish Studies for Women

We have been witness to an increasing number of depressing revelations about Rabbis acting inappropriately towards women they have been counseling or educating. I have no intention of discussing any specific case. I would like to discuss a pattern that is all too common in these cases.

In response to accusations of improper behavior by Rabbis with female students or congregants, lots of well-meaning people come to the defense of the accused. These people will vouch for his tremendous integrity, meticulous observance of all appropriate boundaries in every interaction they ever experienced or witnessed, and the life-changing advice and counseling they or their friends received from the accused. Since, if and when breaches of ethical and Halachic behavior happen, they happen “behind closed doors,” the only way to verify the accusations is for victims to provide detailed testimony of what they claim happened. Frequently, the victims themselves are troubled individuals, or were having some specific emotional crisis which can make them vulnerable to advances from the predator, while compromising their credibility as plaintiffs or witnesses. People can become easily swayed and confused when weighing claims of somewhat unreliable plaintiffs/witnesses against the claims and testimony of obviously well adjusted success stories of said Rabbi’s activities. [...]

When a Rabbi or educator is accused of improper behavior of a sexual or abusive nature, character witnesses are irrelevant to verifying whether the accusations are true. All the many people who have been helped in the past in no way undermine the credibility of the accusers. What is important is the specific accusations, whether there is a pattern to those accusations, and whether the accused can properly refute those accusations. If the defendant is being falsely accused by vindictive or unstable women, either the cross examination of the accusers will verify that, or direct testimony to contradict the claims can be provided. If the accusations are credible, if a pattern of improper behavior is verified, if the accused is guilty, then all the people who were helped should have no impact of the conclusions one needs to draw. In fact, his help is revealed to be part of his abominations, empowering him to continue preying on vulnerable and innocent victims. Those he helped are his “honest” measure, enabling him destroy the lives of those he was cheating. [...]