Friday, May 29, 2015

"Canary Mission" website about campus BDS leaders unnerves anti-Israel advocates

Forward  A new website is publicizing the identities of pro-Palestinian student activists to prevent them from getting jobs after they graduate from college. But the website is keeping its own backers’ identity a secret.

“It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a female narrator intones in a slick video posted to the website’s YouTube account.

Called Canary Mission, the site has posted profiles of dozens of students and recent graduates, alongside those of well-known activists like Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Some of the students are active in Students for Justice in Palestine; others were involved in recent pro-BDS resolutions at campuses in California. Many of them have relatively thin activist résumés.

“The focus on young people and students is an effort to try to tell people that there will be a price for you taking a political position,” said Ali Abunimah, founder of the pro-Palestinian website The Electronic Intifada. “It’s an effort to punish and deter people from standing up for what they believe.”

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, defended the tactic as a way of forcing people to understand the seriousness of their political stands.

“Factually documenting who one’s adversaries are and making this information available is a perfectly legitimate undertaking,” Pipes wrote in an email. “Collecting information on students has particular value because it signals them that attacking Israel is serious business, not some inconsequential game, and that their actions can damage both Israel and their future careers.”[...]

Israeli prof. escapes with reprimand over long term sexual relationship with student

update BBC News  [....] Prof Shamir said, "I know I represent a very tiny minority. I am post-Zionist; I think Zionism in its current phase has to come to terms with the tragic consequences of its project. For example, the Palestinian problem. We need to share this land full and genuinely. Until we do, we will be in a state of war. You don't need to be a prophet to see this."


Tel Aviv University has reprimanded a professor for unbecoming conduct for his intimate relationship with a student who at one point sought to drop the case after she received emails offering her “protection.”

In the 40 pages of the ruling posted on an internal Tel Aviv University website, significant chunks are deleted, not just personal details, making the case all the more complex.

It’s a story of a relationship between Prof. Ronen Shamir of the university’s sociology and anthropology department, and one of his female students, identified as S.

The student, who at one point moved in with the professor, filed a sexual harassment complaint after he reportedly broke off the relationship, but she later retracted the charge and sought to have the disciplinary proceedings halted.

The university pursued the complaint anyway, leading to a ruling that Shamir was guilty on two counts of unbecoming conduct, not sexual harassment. Despite the university’s request that Shamir be forced into early retirement, two of the three judges on the disciplinary panel opted for a reprimand, surprising some people at the university.

The ruling ended an investigation and proceedings that lasted four years. Shamir was also barred from serving as an administrator at the university for five years. He had been department chairman, but had stepped down by the time of the ruling.[...]

According to the ruling, Shamir began courting S. - an Arab student - during her first year in the department. Initially she is said to have rebuffed his advances, but ultimately agreed to go to a show with him.

Later they began living together in Shamir’s Tel Aviv home. Shamir did not report this to anyone at the university, even though a short time after the couple’s relationship began, the university published regulations barring teachers from “intimate relations with a student if there are ties of academic authority between them.”

According to the regulations, the faculty member is the one responsible for avoiding such a relationship, or be subject to possible disciplinary action.

After the relationship had lasted a year, Shamir broke off his ties with S., but she told several faculty members about the relationship and filed a complaint with the university’s commissioner for sexual harassment complaints, Prof. Rachel Erhard. [...]

Sources at the university relate that there is disappointment about the punishment. “We wanted him not to work here any longer,” said one person. “The bottom line is not good at all. Faculty members have known about him for years, the whole world knew – and in the end that is the result. We felt very frustrated in face of the ruling.”

A faculty member told Haaretz: “I thought there should have been a more significant punishment. I have no doubt that what she said initially is the truth of the matter and what she said afterwards is not. The ruling implies that he did grave things, no matter what you call it  — and it’s ended with a punishment that is a joke. At least it merits publication.”

A senior official at the university says: “The judges say there wasn’t sexual harassment but under the regulations in the context of the unequal power relations she was not required to say she did not agree. The law says that the fact that he pursued her is sexual harassment. They interpreted this very leniently – it’s baffling.” [...]              

Whose Footsteps Do You Hear? Running away from Yiddishkeit at "Footsteps" versus hearing the footsteps of Mashiach

Guest post by RaP

I do not have an in depth knowledge about the "Footsteps" organization, but I have heard enough about it, some of it virtually first-hand from a few sources, over some time, and I have slowly been formulating an opinion about it, not all of it negative.

Yes, it is an organization in New York that works with people who are dropping out of any form of Orthodoxy and works on many levels to "deprogram" them much like deprogramming people coming out of any serious cult. In purely Hashkafic terms it is a center of Kefira and Apikursus and if that is all anyone wants to hear, then sure, that is the end of the discussion and move on, much like if a person becomes a Meshumad and joins an organization of Meshumadim.

But if one wants to look deeper at it, as a sociological, cultural and even, yes, a movement of people born as Jews in reaction to things that have either happened to them or are really and truly going on, then it becomes a lot more complex and challenging to deal with.

Just one example is that no Chasidic community that I know of allows or encourages a proper English education and certainly no college studies either for its own sake to widen one's knowledge or to train for a profession. As you know the way Chasidism is set up today the very thought of going near a secular book is a catastrophe. Etc, etc, etc. So now what happens if a Chasidic kid decides not to be like that? Or add to that a kid gets molested or beaten up and decides to stop being Chasidish. Is that "bad" or a "sin" or is it a normal part of being human and therefore there need be choices and organizations to deal with such people?

Well, as you know, in the Chasidish and hard-core Charedi world there are no such solutions. Therefore, can one blame a kid who says he or she has been abused or beaten up or neglected and lives with all the modern temptations and things around them, and decides to start looking outside of their own Chasidus to explore and then find themselves rejecting their past, and then getting help from the "Footsteps" people to get a high level education that will be accepted for college entrance and with that therapy rooted in the modern outlook that is opposed to the "backwardness" or religion and rejects it totally?

Going off the Derech is complicated and never caused by one reason or factor, but the causes and hence blame can be distributed to everyone concerned, bad parenting by some, a few horrible and abusive teachers, lurking molesters inside and outside the family, who are never stopped, etc etc etc , and not just the final "welcoming committee" at Footsteps who are just rolling out the red carpet as if they were a Hatzola center that for many they are!

Firstly, everyone has Bechira, Hashem gives all of us freedom of choice to choose. It is stated in the Torah, and if someone makes a bad choice they have to live with it. We need to face up to reality that some people CHOOSE to reject Yiddishkeit and even God. That is built into the world by Hashem Himself.

How about the parents and teachers and community who offered no solution beyond "my way or the highway" (often literally)? How about Jewish organizations that spout platitudes but do nothing? How about when Frum kids are abused and then they are not protected enough and often it becomes a scenario of "blame the victim"!? How about it is time to realize that no system of Torah Judaism is a "one size fits all" proposition, and that to live in the world as we know it often requires the acquisition of technical or trade or professional skills that can only be attained through formal secular studies that so much of Charedi Judaism fights against as if they were living in the war against the Haskala of the 18th century when that is long gone and that there are plenty of Charedi Jews especially in America who are professionals and trained technicians, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, computer programmers, all sorts of physical and educational therapists and not just buyers and sellers of goods and truck drivers and homemakers.

This all leads, or at least should lead to, lots of self-analysis. There is NOTHING that any Frum person can do against the Footsteps organization, it would be like trying to fight people from going to Church if that is what they want to when peaceful Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Religion and Speech are allowed in the modern democracies that also allow people to be Chasidic and Charedi with those same laws!!

So we must look into ourselves and decide if we see our own faults and if we want to change and do things differently to save our youth and ourselves. Otherwise things like the Off The Derech movement will just mushroom and grow and organizations like Footsteps will keep on sprouting up and offering something while the Frum world twiddles its thumbs, fingers and feet and does nothing really.

Of course, in the long run, Torah-true Yiddishkeit will triumph, just as when various breakaway movements sprung up in the past and then just melted away and assimilated and intermarried. That is what happened to the Sadducees, the Nazarenes, the Karaites, the Reform and that is what will happen to the now growing Off The Derech movement.

But each was and is a challenge and there are various ways of confronting a religious, social, cultural and spiritual challenge.

One way is to shut out the world and live in a self-imposed Ghetto, and another way is to go out and do something to confront it. The Kiruv movement is a good example of how some members of the Frum world have gone out to turn back assimilation and intermarriage, but then again, that is also not on the front burner of the Frum world's main priorities that at this time is still self-absorbed, myopic and preoccupied with too many internal issues and self(ish) interests to worry too much about either Mekareving the Frei or rescuing the growing Off The Derech crowd.

Or am I wrong?

Belz Hasidic sect tells London mothers to stop driving

Leaders of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in north London have said children who are driven to school by their mothers will be turned away at the school gates.
Rabbis from the marginal Hasidic sect Belz have told women in Stamford Hill who drive that they go against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp”.
In a letter sent to parents last week, seen by the Jewish Chronicle, they say there has been an increase in the number of mothers driving their children to school and add that this has led to “great resentment among parents of pupils of our [Hasidic] institutions”.
The letter says the ban, to come into force in the summer, is based on the recommendations of Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel.
It says that if a mother has no other choice but to drive her child to school – for medical reasons, for example – she should “submit a request to the special committee to this effect and the committee shall consider her request”. [...]

We're turning doctors into data-entry clerks

NY Daily News    by Charles Krauthammer

A bout a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile.

“I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.”

I was reminded of this exchange upon receiving my med-school class’s 40th-reunion report and reading some of the entries. In general, my classmates felt fulfilled by family, friends and the considerable achievements of their professional lives. But there was an undercurrent of deep disappointment, almost demoralization, with what medical practice had become.

The complaint was not financial but vocational — an incessant interference with their work, a deep erosion of their autonomy and authority, a transformation from physician to “provider.”

As one of them wrote, “My colleagues who have already left practice all say they still love patient care, being a doctor. They just couldn’t stand everything else.” By which he meant “a never-ending attack on the profession from government, insurance companies, and lawyers . . . progressively intrusive and usually unproductive rules and regulations,” topped by an electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents” — and degraded medicine. [...]

And for what? The newly elected President Obama told the nation in 2009 that “it just won’t save billions of dollars” — $77 billion a year, promised the administration — “and thousands of jobs, it will save lives.” He then threw a cool $27 billion at going paperless by 2015.

It’s 2015 and what have we achieved? The $27 billion is gone, of course. The $77 billion in savings became a joke. Indeed, reported the Health and Human Services inspector general in 2014, “EHR technology can make it easier to commit fraud,” as in Medicare fraud, the copy-and-paste function allowing the instant filling of vast data fields, facilitating billing inflation.[...]

Then there is the toll on doctors’ time and patient care. One study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that emergency-room doctors spend 43% of their time entering electronic records information, 28% with patients. Another study found that family-practice physicians spend on average 48 minutes a day just entering clinical data.

Forget the numbers. Think just of your own doctor’s visits, of how much less listening, examining, even eye contact goes on, given the need for scrolling, clicking and box checking.[...]

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chief Rabbi of England urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police

Jewish Chronicle  The Chief Rabbi's statement in full:

The conviction of a prominent member of the Manchester Jewish community for sexual abuse is of immense significance. Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution. The longstanding view of the Chief Rabbi and Beth Din has been restated a number of times in recent years, but this is an opportune moment to reinforce that position once again. 

I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future. 

This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community. Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged.

It is imperative that communities across the country have robust child protection policies in place and should act in consultation with the statutory services. Every community should review its policies and procedures regularly and consider what else can be done - we can always do more.

Further to previously held training seminars for Rabbis, I will be writing this week to Rabbis across the country, advising them of a mandatory, dedicated seminar that the United Synagogue is organising on behalf of its communities, in order to better prepare Rabbis to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse in their communities and to reinforce the importance of being vigilant at all times. In addition, I am meeting with victims of abuse and campaigners in this area to seek views from them as to what more can be done to better protect vulnerable people in our communities.

May we all have the courage to seek out and challenge cruelty and injustice from within our midst.

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

The study, a working paper released by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, looked at 799 boys and girls. The kids, mostly age 9, were students in several dozen single-classroom schools run by the nonprofit Gyan Shala in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Ahmedabad.

Gyan Shala's program is free and has a reputation for offering decent quality instruction in language, math and science. Still, attendance rates are no better than the average for the region. On any given day, about a quarter of students are absent. Gyan Shala's administrators believe many opt to stay home and play if, say, it's a festival day or a sibling who attends a different school is off or simply because they're not in the mood for class.

So the researchers challenged kids in about half of the classes: Over a designated 38-day period, show up for at least 32 days — that's 85 percent of the time — and get a special gift: two pencils and an eraser.[...]

So far it all seemed logical, says Visaria. As an economist, she would expect a reward program to be most effective with students who don't already have some existing, intrinsic motivation for going to school — like finding class fun.

After the 38 days, rewards were handed out to those who qualified in a special ceremony in front of the rest of the class. The researchers checked back on the kids two more times. And that's when things got surprising.

The researchers looked at three different categories:

• Kids whose attendance rate was highest in the class before the reward program. They reverted to their baseline level.

• Kids whose attendance rate was lowest but managed to up their attendance enough to win the prize. After the program was over, these kids also reverted to their lower baseline level.

• Kids whose attendance rate was lowest to start off with and who did not improve enough to qualify for the reward. In other words, they failed the challenge. More than 60 percent of the lowest attenders fell into this category. For them, the aftermath was grim. They were now only about one-fourth as likely to show up for class as they had been before the reward scheme was introduced. [..]

Rav Dovid Eidensohn Telephone Conference Shiur #9 – What Beth Din is Empowered to Coerce a GET? May 27 Wednesday 9:30 PM

Shiur #9 – What Beth Din is Empowered to Coerce a GET?

Telephone Conference Shiur #9 May 27 Wednesday 9:30 PM call 605-562-3130 enter code 411161#

1. We have previously discussed when a Beth Din may coerce a GET. Now we want to go into the power of any Beth Din, how they are authorized by the Torah to make a coerced GET.

2. Gemora Gittin 88b: “Abayeh found Rav Yosef sitting and coercing husbands to divorce their wives with a GET. He said to him, ‘But we are plain people [meaning the rabbis in Babylonia did not get the ancient Semicha and therefore are not MUMCHIM.] Rashi explains that in those days rabbis in Israel did receive the ancient Semicha that began with Moshe Rabbeinu and were therefore authorized by the Torah to fulfill all judicial functions necessary such as coercing a GET when appropriate. But Rav Yosef was in Babylonia, and the rabbis there did not receive this Semicha. So by whose authority did Rav Yosef coerce a GET?

3. Rav Yosef replied, “We are messengers of the rabbis who got Semicha.”

4. Tosfose there D”H bimilso dishechicha explains, “We do the work assigned to us by the earlier generations [who had Semicha] in Israel.”

5. We see from this that the entire capacity to coerce a GET and fulfill other functions of a dayan today is because we received permission to do this from earlier generations in Israel who had semicha.

6. Furthermore, the gemora says that we are not authorized by the early generations of Semuchim to fulfill the functions of a Torah Dayan in all things, only in those things that are common. But why is this? Why did the earlier generations grant permission for us to fulfill the will of the Torah with Semicha only with what is common to us?

7. Perhaps this itself that the permission is not total reminds us that our status is not that of real Semuchim. We may only function according to the command of the earlier Semuchim. The earlier generations of Semuchim were the greatest of their time. And they passed on this Semicha to Babylonia and other countries who had no Semicha only if the rabbis there were very prominent scholars, the cream of the rabbinate. This means that today coercing a husband is a right only of the greatest rabbis. Not long ago a letter from the major Gedolim in Israel said the same thing. But their letter was a response to coerced Gittin from people who are not true scholars or who differ with the Shulchan Aruch. But besides these considerations, we may also assume that the permission given by earlier Musmochim applied only to great rabbis. If so, those who are not great and coerce a GET have made an invalid GET.

8. In fact, see the Tosfose HaRid on the gemora above Gittin 88. He deduces from Bovo Basro that coercing to divorce a wife is only effective because “it is a mitzvah to obey the sages.” Obviously, the power of coercion is only given to such rabbis who are considered by everyone, even one who has to be beaten to fulfill the Torah, as authorities. The Beth Din not universally recognized as great sages, may produce invalid Gittin. Did the earlier semuchim, the greatest rabbis, give permission for plain rabbis to fulfill the roll previously given only to the greatest rabbis? Probably not.

9. Chasam Sofer in his teshuvose on Even Hoezer in two places 28 and 116 says that if the husband knows that two authorities differ whether or not the husband should be beaten, and then the husband is beaten and says, “I want the GET” because of that beating, the GET the husband gives is invalid by the Torah. This is because the husband only gives a proper GET under a beating when he accepts the rabbis as the true authorities to speak for the Torah. But if he knows there are those who disagree with the Beth Din that orders coercion, he does not accept them or their coercion and the GET is invalid, and the children born from it are mamzerim. [...]

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nativ - an Israel army program - provides an easier road to conversion

Times of Israel    Nativ [Jewish Identity Education]   is the army’s gateway to conversion. It’s Judaism and Zionism 101, taught by civilian and army instructors on a grassy campus, providing participants with reasonable food in a coed setting on the army’s dime. The seven-week course, even if one does not continue toward the conversion seminars that follow, counts toward time served. In short, most soldiers know that if they are entitled to the course, they might as well go.

It is – housed under the roof of the IDF, an organization that is by definition kosher and Sabbath observant – the only path in Israeli society that manages to skirt most of the minefields surrounding the question of who is a Jew. [...]

Nativ was founded in 2001, the brainchild of reserves general Elazar Stern, who, as chief education officer and head of IDF manpower, from 1999 to 2008, left an indelible mark on the military – pioneering the army’s organized trips to the Nazi death camps, introducing a blood marrow donor station at the IDF’s induction center, and, among many other initiatives, launching a rewrite of the army’s code of ethics. [...]

The process is not perfect. From the ultra-Orthodox perspective it is far too lenient. It does not even span an entire calendar year – in fact it could be completed in the period between the end of the Sukkot and the start of Passover – and the devotion of each and every convert to full compliance with the commandments has been questioned.

Secular Israelis have been outraged as well. In 2014, Noam Cohen, a newly discharged soldier, told Channel 10 that she was disqualified from the conversion track in the army because she lives on a kibbutz. It did not matter that her hometown of Kibbutz Yifat has a synagogue, or that there is a religious family living on the kibbutz, or that her father was a veteran of Sayeret Matkal, or that there is a plaque drilled into the synagogue wall with the names of 22 fallen Israeli soldiers from the kibbutz: the fact of her living on a secular kibbutz was grounds for disqualification, she said.[...]

Roughly 3,000 soldiers opt to start the Nativ courses every year. The first seven weeks are a bit like college. The classes are taught by religious, secular, Reform and Conservative teachers. The dorms and classrooms are sprinkled with students from all over the world – participants referred to it as “the Mondial” or World Cup of soccer – but the clear majority are from Russian-speaking homes. In a history class I sat in on, addressing the Roman rule over Judea, there were 20 students from former Soviet Union states and two from the US, both of whom were Jewish but eligible for the course as new immigrants. One, a college graduate from New Rochelle, New York, was the most active participant in class. The other doodled impressively. The army allowed access to three of the Russian-speaking students.[....]

Friday, May 22, 2015

Todrus Gyrnhaus: Why did the community turn to a psychologist instead of the police?

 update - added official view of Gateshead Rav which disagree with the original guest post

just received this letter and explanation:

Hello. your guest post about the Gateshead Rav is a complete misunderstanding of his position. i was debating a long time about whether to send you this one-page summary of a Shiur he has given on the topic of reporting molesters, but now it seems that it would be a good idea, This summary has already been circulated and has the Haskama of the GR.
כללי הלכה נעביד רודפי ילדים

א. מסירה - הנה מסירה הוא ערן חמור מאוד ואין לו חלק לעוה"ב - אמנם זה כשעושה כן באיסור אבל לפעמים הוא מותר ולפעמים הוא חיוב למסור - רע' בחו"מ ס' שפ"ח ובספרי התשובות עליו - ובאופנים המותרים הוא מיציר לרבים - הצלת נרדף - לאפרושי מאיסורא - טסקא דמלכא ועוד - וע"כ צריכים לדון כל עניך ע"פ ההלכה אחר לימוד בעיון ובעמל ובשימוש חכמים - ולא לדון מתוך רגש או שמועה ששמע בילדותו או ע"י לימוד שטחי

ב. רודף ילדים - יש בו הרבה אם לא כל הטעמים הנ"ל - רע' בירחון ישורון חלק ט"ו, וכ"ב וכן בנשמת אברהם ח"ד תשובות מגדולי הוראה של כל החוגים הן מא"י והן מחוץ לארץ שהסכימו לזה - ועל כולם הוא פסק של הגרי"ש אלישיב זי"ע שמלבד כל הטעמים הנ"ל מוסיף ומכין ועונשין שלא מן הדין באופן שהדור פרוץ בכך, ומחליט שזהו מציאות כהיום ר"ל

ג. עדות - הנה דברים האלו לעולם לא נעשים בפני עדים כשרים - ולעולם שומעים שמועות מפי נשים וקטנים - אמנם אין אנו ונין על הרודף לעונשו אלא ונין כאן אם יש חיוב של הצלת הנרדפים - ובוראי אם שומע מפי כמה באופן וניכר ואמת חייבים להציל נרדפים וכבר העיר לנו עיינין הגרי"ש אלישיב זי"ע רכל שבגדר שיש רגלים לדבר ]ולא דמיון[ מחויבים להציל אפילו ע"י מסירה למלכות

זאת ועוד מה שאשה פסולה לעדות היינו שאחר א"א לעשות ולענוש על פיה אבל בוראי היא בעצמה יודע המציאות מה נעשה לה - ואם היא שואלת לפי דבריה ויש רגלים לדבר שנכרים דברי אמת בוראי מותר לענות ולהורות לה לפי דבריה

וכ"ש בנדון ששמעו הודאת בעל דין - ואין לדון מדין אין אדם משים עצמו רשע כי אין אנו ונין אם כשר לעדות אלא אם מחויב להציל אחרים, ופשוט וצריכים לקבל דברי רוצח ורודף לעניך זה לדאוג לשמור על הנרצחים והנרדפים

ו. תשובה - האם צריכים לחשוש שעשה תשובה ובפרט כשהוא ת"ח שעבר עבירה בלילה, הנה זה לא נוגע כאן, ראשית כי אין ונין על האדם אלא אם חייבים לדאוג לנרדפים, שנית דמי שהכשיל אחרים בדאורייתא אין נאמן שעשה תשובה עד שיוחזק כמבואר ביו"ד סי· קי"ח, שלישית דמי שמושקע בהשחתות אלו הוא חולה במחלת נפש אשר קשה לרפאות אמנם הוא דבר שבגדר רפואה ואין עניך תשובה אלא לחטא ולא למחלות

ה. רחמנות - הנה בוראי מסימני זרע אברהם הוא רחמנות - אבל כמובן א"א לעשות על חשבון אחרים וכבר העידו חז"ל "כל המרחם על אכזרים לבסוף מתאכזר על רחמנים" - והנסיון כבר העיד שבעניך זה האכזריות על הרחמנים אינה לבסוף אלא הוא תיכף ומיד ובבת אחת ה· ישמרנו

ו . אפשר לחצילו כאחד מאבריו - בוראי גם מי שהוא רודף אין להוד גו אם ניתן להציל נרדפים באופן אחר וע"כ כשיש עצה בדוקה ובטוחה להציל נרדפים חייבים לעשותו אבל אין לסמוך בזה על עצות שאינם בטוחות לחלוטין כי אין אנו ושאין להפקיר נרדפים וילדים שאינם יכולין להגן על עצמן ע"י סברות ורצונות בדויות ) wishful thinking ( ומי שעושה כן הוא אינו בעל אחריות

ז. הראוי לחורות כזה - איתא בחז"ל רבים חללים הפילה הוא ת"ח שלא הגיע להוראה ומורה - והוא תלוי בכל הלכה ושאלה בפני עצמה - וע"כ אף מי שרגיל להורות בדיני איסור והיתר השכיחים או אפילו ת"ח מופלג שבקי בש"ס הוא לא הגיע להוראה בעניך זה ורק מי שעמל על דינים אלו ומתחיל מן הש"ס וראשונים ומסיים בלימוד חושן משפט ותשובות עליו כ אשר הנסיון מעיד לוקח לפחות מחודש עד חודשיים [ וגם לרבות ששימש ת"ח גאוני ההוראה בעני"ז רשאי להורות בזה ובלי זה הוי בגדר רבים חללים הפילה

נכתוב מתוך דברים ששמענו מהגאון אב"ד דק"ק גייטסהעד הרב ש .פ. זיממערמאן שליט"א


Guest Post:
Todros Grynhaus: The Gateshead Rav testifies against him in court"

What did the Gateshead Rav, Rabbi Zimmerman mean when he said,

"I realised it was beyond competence and let Dr Schauder handle it."?

Part of the tragedy of the 21st Century (a perspective which unfortunately has even damaged the Jewish world) is the belief that aveiros and middot can be "cured" by "therapy".

Rambam in Shmoneh Prakim and Hilchot Deot compares bad middot to illnesses, and doctors to Sages only as a MASHAL !! A mashal, or analogy, metaphor or model in English is only an illustration not a true description of the state of affairs.

Rambam definitely did not imply that, for example, a baal gaavah can be literally "cured" by medication! Nor do we take the metaphor 'choleh nefesh' literally and perform bikkur cholim for a baal taavas!

Now in modern times the mashal has come to be regarded as mamash concrete reality. Inappropriate behaviour is now regarded as "illness". Sure, perverse behaviour with children may be called "sick", but "sick behaviour" is, in the English idiom, a metaphor or figure of speech, as we've just said, a Mashal! We can also say that the economy of a country is "sick" or that a joke is a "sick joke". We can also say of drug abuse, or internet pornography "it is a cancer in our society".

The definition of "therapy" is treatment of a real illness, The behaviour in question is not a real illness at all (Was it diagnosed by a laboratory? Is there a pill for it?) and therefore any change in behaviour does not come under the definition of "therapy", whether attempted through talking, confining, drugs or electric shocks.

Behaviour is located in the domains of Hallachah, Musar, Derech Eretz, morality and ethics, politics and human conflict, and cannot be cured. Behaviour is not illness.

In this context we must point out that, Dr. Schauder, with all due respect to his academic credentials, and good intentions to do chesed, and mekarev, is not a real doctor treating a real illness, nor is he a baal musar guiding the teshuvah process, nor a kabbalist nor a rebbe, nor a posek! (This in a community with more qualified people in all these categories!).

A community with emunah shleimah in psychologists, only enables and extends the bad behaviour and further damages the victims, by failing to report it and naively waiting for it to be cured.

So, what, actually is this Game? After all, Dr. Schauder is an expert in Transactional Analysis, which is based on the priciple of 'Games People Play'?

Is the Gateshead Rav calling into question, Heaven forbid, the adequacy of 'Orchot Tzaddikim' and 'Mesillat Yesharim', recommending Pavlov's dog instead? Has the principle of S'char v'Ones been abolished? Is a graduate of Pretoria University a better baal musar than a Yeshiva graduate? Maybe we should appoint behaviourists as mashgichim ruchani in our Yeshivos?

One thing is clear, The Rav and community have now, given full recognition and endorsement to psychology and psychotherapy, something missing from Torah the last 3,500+ years, but what for?

When Rabbi Zimmerman said,

"I realised it was beyond competence and let Dr Schauder handle it." Did he mean, "Oh shame, the poor fellow can't help it, he's sick"? Or "Maybe a doctor's opinion will get us leniency in court"? or "We'll get him sentenced to hospital instead of being treated in prison"?