Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rav Shlomo Miller Denounces Perversion and Corruption

Yesterday's discussion about Rav Shlomo Miller of Toronto reminded me of something else. Recently, I praised Mishpacha magazine for its brave attempt to broaden the boundaries of discourse in the Charedi community. Back in 2008, in the April 30 edition, they ran an article in which they interviewed leading poskim, including Rav Miller, about the "burning issues" facing Charedi Jewry. Now, that was at a point where many people were up in arms about all kinds of terrible things that were revealed to be going on the frum community. An article in New York magazine reported that Rabbi Yehuda Kolko had sexually molesting students for decades, and that the principal of the yeshivah where he taught, Rabbi Lipa Margulies, knew about it and covered for him. The revelation of this did not prevent Rabbi Margulies from being considered an appropriate authority to sign the condemnation of Lipa Schmeltzer. And there had also been numerous cases of frum people involved in financial corruption without the Gedolim saying anything about it. So, Mishpachah magazine posed a tough question to Rav Miller:
"Why don't rabbanim take a firm stand on developments in frum life, such as denouncing perversions and corruptions, wrong agendas, wrongdoers?"
A very tough question, and kudos to Mishpachah magazine for being brave enough to ask it. But Rav Miller responded that rabbanim have indeed taken a firm stand on such issues, and have indeed denounced perversions and corruptions, wrong agendas, and wrongdoers:
"Charedi rabbanim opposed the views espoused by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, and rejected him speaking in the name of Orthodoxy."
!!!

I kid you not. Those were his exact words, in response to that exact question.

He then went on to admit that "Other issues come to a point where things have to be dealt with. Certain improper acts have happened in a yeshivah and were covered up when they shouldn't have been." Yet in that case Rav Miller never saw a need to circulate a public statement denouncing the perpetrator and the cover-up, and in the Mishpachah article he does not even mention any names. Pedophiles and those who cover up for them are not to be named and disgraced in the public denunciation of perversion and corruption - only those who dare say that Orthodoxy can accommodate evolution, or those who write halachic articles arguing that there is a limmud zechus on all the great Jewish women of the past who did not cover their hair!

62 comments:

  1. If any post ever deserved an unquestionable "emes" vote, it's this one.

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  2. I'm not typically very emotional about this stuff, but R' Miller's behavior sickens me.

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  3. The logical (and not particularly surprising) conclusion is that "those who dare say that Orthodoxy can accommodate evolution, or those who write halachic articles arguing that there is a limmud zechus on all the great Jewish women of the past who did not cover their hair!" are an existential threat to R'SM's orthodoxy whereas "Pedophiles and those who cover up for them " are not and sometimes must be protected for the greater good of the system.
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  4. This is exactly the point I made in you post last week titled 'With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility'.

    When rabbanim only see fit to express their moral outrage when it comes to tznius, kashrus, kefira, and other such typically frum issues, and yet are virtually silent when it comes to fraud, embezzlement, corruption, violence, abuse and other far more heinous violations, it clearly demonstrates just how lacking they are as men of true integrity and how undeserving they are of the community's respect.

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  5. It would be nice to state your personal involvement in the previous article.

    R' Miller also never condemned eating at McDonalds or adultery.

    Do you think that there is anybody out there who doesn't know whether child abuse is or is not compatible with Orthodox halacha?

    Yes, his (and his colleagues') silence is frustrating but it is in a different category.

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  6. Reminds me of the professor in med school who, when we grumbled about not having enough time to go out on weekends because of the heavy workload, said "Why would you want to go out? Don't you want to be good doctors? Learning medicine has to be your life!" Lacking a work-life balance (or just lacking the life part in general) he just couldn't understanding why we would want one.
    Same thing here. Rav Miller lives in his little, closed cultural ghetto where "we" are all moral and "they" are all evil. Therefore all those who accuse "we" of crimes must be lying because "they" are evil. Hence there is no need to denounce pedophilia. It's all false accusations "they" made to destroy the kedusha "we" have.

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  7. Do you think that there is anybody out there who doesn't know whether child abuse is or is not compatible with Orthodox halacha?

    I think that there are a lot of people who assume that covering up for molestation is not something that will get them in serious trouble in the Orthodox community, because nobody will dare say anything against them. And apparently, they are correct.

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  8. Garnel, you are wrong. Read the post. Rav Miller agrees that Margulies was guilty.

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  9. @SQ

    "R' Miller's behavior sickens me."

    Ditto.

    Unfortunately this kind of warped priorities (to say nothing of warped views and beliefs) is quite common in the Haredi sector. Here in Kiryat Sefer the rabbis have focused entirely on aggressively promoting shabbat generators rather than deal with the many deep social and security problems in the city. Several near disasters at bais yaakovs (all of which were due to the negligence and corruption of town hall), not a word; pervasive discrimination against non-Ashkenazim in being allowed to live here or attend schools - not only do they ignore the problem, when some locals try to address the issue they are called heretics. And then of course there is the ambulance center they banned from being stationed here despite the fact that a city our size (now almost 50,000) needs one to provide proper response times. Why? Because Magen David Adom is treif; they employee irreligious people and it could lead to pritzut. So we ignore pikuah nefesh because the medics might not be religious. *sigh*

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  10. There is no excuse AT ALL for condoning or covering up the severe crimes, sins, and chillul Hashem of monetary or sexual transgressions. Any attempt to mitigate the heinous nature of these crimes against man and God are nothing less than a sick perversion of Torah.

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  11. But in defense of Harav Miller, from a halakhic perspective is child molestation such a big deal (assuming there is no hozaas zera)? Flicking a light switch on Shabbos is a much greater issur. The biggest problem is probably Hillul Hashem so it makes sense to try to cover things up or minimize the importance of it.

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  12. Very true. Orwellian religion and opiate for the masses. Perversion of humanity.

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  13. I think this shows what is on the mind of gedolim regarding the problems on orthodoxy. I think this shows a focus on the wrong issues.

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  14. 2nd time is a charmJanuary 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    The Hiluk is that your books and Rabbi Broyde's essay were published in the public arena, whereas pedophilia and tax preparation take place in private. Hence, one is never certain if the hidden sins were actually committed.

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  15. But Rav Miller WAS certain (as was everyone else) that Kolko/ Margulies was guilty. Yet he still wouldn't name them.

    By the way, a lot of people seem to be missing something. Putting aside the issue of not properly dealing with genuine perversion and corruption - Rav Miller took a question that was obviously directed to such things, with strong language of "perversion" and "corruption," and applied it to my books! So, books quoting sources about reconciling evolution with Torah are to be put in the same category as pedophiles and their enablers!

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  16. But Rav Slifkin. Your books are heresy! They confuse the mind and undermine the Gedolim leading people to be porek ol. On the other hand, if someone touches a boy in a not totally kosher way in private-- what's the big deal from the perspective of halakha?

    How can you possibly compare the two?

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  17. 2nd time is a charmJanuary 5, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Staus Quo is what Rav Miller is trying to uphold. Although there have been some who didn't cover their hair, and some who are favorable to evolution, there hasn't been an effort to mainstream it to the masses.

    Rav Miller probably sees your books and Rav Broyde's essay as a break in tradition. He sees his position as plugging the holes so that the dikes don't flood.

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  18. @Natan Slifkin

    "By the way, a lot of people seem to be missing something...Rav Miller took a question that was obviously directed to such things, with strong language of "perversion" and "corruption," and applied it to my books! So, books quoting sources about reconciling evolution with Torah are to be put in the same category as pedophiles and their enablers!"


    There is so much insanity with this 'rav' in just one article that its easy to forget something as glaring as the comparison he made. Things have gotten to the point where I have to question the sanity of these 'rabbis' followers. One can only be melamed zchut on people so much - somethings are just beyond the pale, like this quote in Mishpacha.

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  19. Helio said:

    Flicking a light switch on Shabbos is a much greater issur

    Aside from the moral repugnance of such a statement it's patently false. One is allowed to be mechalal Shabbos to save a child from being molested.

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  20. Note the contrast between the MO\Religious Zionist response to a similar case recently... the person was fully exposed and is now for all intensive purposes in cherem. With all its problems, at least the MO world seems to be dealing with the unfortunate reality of molestation and corruption!

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  21. Michael wrote:

    Aside from the moral repugnance of such a statement it's patently false. One is allowed to be mechalal Shabbos to save a child from being molested.

    What is the source for this? Does this apply even to non-kosher touching?

    As distateful as the subject is, I would like to see Rav Slifkin write an article on halakhos governing child abuse.

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  22. Regarding limud zchus on Jewish women of the past. I think that someone like myself trotting around in a $3000 human hair sheitl is the one who is in need of limud zcus. But to call it znius? This is really orwellian. My favorite is satmarer seamed stockings. How disconnected one has to be from the outside world not to realize that only women of the most loose character wear those? I won't be caught dead with them on.

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  23. "One is allowed to be mechalal Shabbos to save a child from being molested."

    Ummm, WRONG

    The Rambam himself states clearly in Hilchos Isurei Biah that "molesting" a child under the age of 3 (girl) or 9 (boy) is not even considered a sexual act and is not punishable at all. Now, rationalize THAT!

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  24. Regarding electricity on Shabbat, ayen Otzar Yisrael from 1911 on Hebrewbooks.org: http://tinyurl.com/2457wa3.

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  25. Dawidh said:

    Why? Because Magen David Adom is treif; they employee irreligious people and it could lead to pritzut. So we ignore pikuah nefesh because the medics might not be religious. *sigh*


    This reminds of a story from Saudi Arabia a few years ago. Maybe we're headed in this direction too?

    From the BBC:

    Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

    From Wikipedia:

    The 2002 Mecca girls' school fire happened on March 11, 2002 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Fourteen students were killed. The event was especially notable due to complaints that Saudi Arabia's "religious police" (aka the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) stopped schoolgirls from leaving the burning building and hindered rescue workers because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress.

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  26. To Wizard and Helio:

    I'm astounded by the level of ignorance shown by your statements. Child molestation is NOT (necessarily) a sexual wrong. It is the potential long term (mostly psychological) damage done to the child. Some children NEVER fully recover especially is they have been repeatedly abused. And quoting the Rambam or any other great sage is useless in this matter as they likely had no idea of the problems or issues involved.

    This addresses a related issue and that is that too many Poskim in the Chareidi camp hold that if something is not deemed wrong or sinful in the ancient books, ergo it cannot be all that bad.

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  27. Wizard, maybe in OZ, but here on Earth the poskim who understand what molestation is also understand that every act of molestation carries a risk to the life of the victim. As such they have ruled that one is allowed to call the police on Shabbos if there is even a suspicion of molestation.

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  28. Rabbi Slifkin, I think you may have missed something. Rabbi Miller feels that there is no need for the Rabbanim to denounce pedophilia. It is only things that are uncertain that need clarification from the Gedolim. They felt your books fit this category.

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  29. Helio,

    If you're genuinely interested in the subject, it seems the leading Chareidi Rabbi in this area is Rabbi Daniel Eidenson, who has a published a book on the issues surrounding abuse and halacha. He runs the Daas Torah blog. Also, for some reason people don't seem to realize that public Chillul Hashem is a very serious avera, and that covering up for the molesters only makes it an order of magnitude worse.

    Regarding electricity on Shabbat, there credible Orthodox ( even Chareidi ) poskim who hold that there is no Torah or Rabbinic prohibition on electricity use on Shabbat, and that it is only forbidden due to minhag. One such authority is R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. I personally know Orthodox Rav's who hold this position, but would never express it in public.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. Yeshivish said...
    Rabbi Slifkin, I think you may have missed something. Rabbi Miller feels that there is no need for the Rabbanim to denounce pedophilia. It is only things that are uncertain that need clarification from the Gedolim. They felt your books fit this category.


    People keep missing the points!

    1) The first, and main, point was that a question about the inaction on perversion and corruption - i.e. pedophilia and fraud - was responded to by claiming that there has indeed been action - in reference to my books!

    2) Unfortunately, there is indeed a tragic need for pedophiles and their enablers to be publicly denounced, because one of the reasons why they are so rampant is that they know that nobody in the charedi world will dare talk about it. Such as Rav Miller, who won't mentioned Rabbi Margulies by name, even though he agrees that he is responsible for covering up for a pedophile!

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  32. Elemir

    Elemir

    What you say at the end is the exact point. If gedolim were all knowing then if it's ok according to the Rambam it must be ok today. The fact that in the goyish velt these things are deemed terrible is seen as outside influence which makes things bad only according to Hillul Hashem so its best to minimize or sweep these things under the table.

    Of course child abuse is horrific according to any humane person. I'm just trying to understand the inhumane.

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  33. I'm so sure that Rav Shlomo Zalman turned on lights in his house on Shabbos. LOL!
    Molestation is not life threatening in any physical way, shape or form, other than psychologically, and there is no Shulchan Aruch or anything on psychological issues. Seder Nezikin is very complete regarding damages. The APA may recognize it, but they also recognize alcoholism and sex addiction as diseases, too. They used to call homosexuality a disease (it still is in my opinion). If you think halacha will do that as well you're totally nuts. Don't be a baal tosef. The law given is enough.

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  34. I wasnt aware that Lipa Shmeltzer had been banned or anything like that. What happened exactly?

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  35. "The Rambam himself states clearly in Hilchos Isurei Biah that "molesting" a child under the age of 3 (girl) or 9 (boy) is not even considered a sexual act and is not punishable at all. Now, rationalize THAT!"

    The charedim have won. People can actually be knowledgeable about halachah yet think molesting children is okay. Here's one of the commandments you might have missed: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I don't recall a reb chaim on that one, so maybe it doesn't really exist, but if you need to we can also learn baba kamma and hilchos nezikin together. Whether the act has a "din biyah" or not is irrelevant.

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  36. To Shimon S

    In one of Rabbi Miller's concise clear 10 line tshuvos he allowed a shul to retain its Rabbi involved in questionable activities. In this MO shul he was able to engineer a Haredi Kollel on premises and exclude MO events such as Torah in Motion.
    In the Mishpach interview referred to by Rabbi Slifkin, RSM clearly states that the greatest threat to Orthodoxy is left wing MO.

    If you don't believe me send me an email midov551@gmail.com.

    If any MO Rabbi issued the psak RSM did we know the onslaught they would have faced from the looks of RSM

    Joey Fried

    (Edited by siteowner)

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  37. Avi: "[...] The charedim have won. [...]"

    This is news? We Hungarians have known it since the mid-1860s when our Ksav Sofer got into trouble (for, among other things, his friendship with Rav Asriel Hildesheimer). (Unfortunately, the term 'charedi' is too blunt an instrument to capture the distinctions ...)

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  38. >>>>> I'm so sure that Rav Shlomo Zalman turned on lights in his house on Shabbos. LOL!

    No, he didn’t. But what he did claim was that in the case of electricity on Shabbat for many types of usages the poskim who “assur’d” it did not fully understand how it functioned and hence their p’sak was wrong. And as far as he was concerned usage of electricity on Shabbat in these cases was to be forbidden only due to “minhag yisroel”.

    >>>> Molestation is not life threatening in any physical way, shape or form, other than psychologically, and there is no Shulchan Aruch or anything on psychological issues.

    So mental health of these kids is not worthy of addressing because it’s not in the SA. Do you know how many suicides have been attributed to childhood molestation or other abuses. Or, children growing up and leading dysfunctional lives or having severe anti-social behavior.
    Sadly, I suppose most in your community are just as ignorant. A superb example of why many of your so-called “gedolim” are the wrong people to be consulted on matters that they know nothing about.

    >>>>> Seder Nezikin is very complete regarding damages.

    Again …are you implying that the whole matter of child abuse or rape is a financial matter. From the frying pan into the fire ….

    >>>> The APA may recognize it, but they also recognize alcoholism

    And yes, if I was a posek, i would “assur” giving or abetting getting alcohol beverages to one who has been diagnosed alcoholic. To some alcoholics, access to alcohol is “sakonat nefoshot”.

    >>>>> They used to call homosexuality a disease (it still is in my opinion).

    They were wrong (and so is your opinion).

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  39. A reminder: Anonymous comments will not be posted.

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    Replies
    1. Die idiot rosha koifer

      Delete
  40. It's completely astounding to me that anyone could compare the depravity of child molestation with the works of Rabbi Slifkin - a person that was and is trying to reconcile Hashem's Torah with our modern world. Why does Rabbi Slifkin do this? I presume it's because he loves Hashem and wants his fellow Jews to come closer to Him. For this reason, even if Rabbi Miller disagreed with Rabbi Slifkin's approach, to equate him with child molesters is monstrous. I would also add that, as an attorney with the Department of Justice, I frequently see the emotional impact child molestation has on children. For those Jews on this blog that believe that Hashem would not hold someone accountable for molesting a child under the age of three, you should be ashamed of yourselves. We are observant Jews, and are supposed to be the people that bring light into a dark world. If we have sunk to the level where some of us honestly believe that Hashem doesn't consider child molestation an avera, or that Rabbi Slifkin is on the level of a molestor because he tried to reconcile Torah and science in a way that is different from the traditional approach, then I feel very bad for Hashem. It's an embarrassment.

    PS - I couldn't post a name because the links on this page would not let me. HTML issue maybe?

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  41. The Wizard said...

    I'm so sure that Rav Shlomo Zalman turned on lights in his house on Shabbos. LOL!


    Are you incapable of reading? I clearly wrote that he held electricity to be forbidden, but due to minhag, not due to a Torah or Rabbinic prohibition.

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  42. Dear Rabbi Slifkin:

    A friend of mine and well known political commentator and strategist in the US commonly refers to the American voting pool as "saints", "sinners" and "salvagables". What he means is that some people will always see issues according to how you see them, some will never see them according to how you do and some could be persuaded to see things the way you do given the proper "hadcracha" for lack of better terminology. Rabbis such as this individual in question will never be persuaded to see the world and its complexities the way we do since there is much in the way of fear of social stigmatization and lack of familiarity with the greater non-Jewish world. Therefore I think there comes a point when you just have to throw your hands up and in the words of my yiddishe bubbe realize that "gornisht helfen." Some people are trapped by communal pressure and fear of self expression and the best thing that you could do as a visionary and one of the leader of the school of thought that believes that Judaism and science are not antithetical systems is to move to America where you will be appreciated and valued for your tremendous contributions to the klal. American Jews are vanishing at an incredibly high rate and could use with someone of your knowledge and breadth of expertise.

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  43. Dawidh:
    You also live in Kiryat Sefer?

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  44. Both the accommodation to evolution and the limud zechut involved bringing Rishonim to support a position that Rav Miller opposes.
    Dat Yehudit is a relic from what Rabbi Haym Soloveitchik described in Rupture and Reconstruction as "mimetic transmission" of Jewish norms. (Rabbi Soloveitchik was attempting to describe phenomena, and not judge them or prescribe a response.)
    One characteristic of "mimetic transmission" is that it necessarily does not have leaders or an agenda.
    Howerver, the post-Holocaust reinvention and reconstruction of Judaism, which moved the kollel from a cottage craft to an industry, did -- and does. With the hindsight afforded by getting on 3/4 of a century, one can see that if Zionism alone had been a sufficient answer to the Holocaust, (really, if Zionism had been a sufficient vessel to contain the light that animated it ;-)) Rav Kotler and his colleagues in the USA and Israel wouldn't have gotten the traction that they did.

    Brecht's poemThe Solution has resonance to both Zionism and the Chareidi reaction; of course, Zionism and Chareidism both have their statist and totalitarian tendencies:

    ...the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    For the Zionists, the Exile had distorted the Jewish people and the cure was לבנות את המדינה ולהיבנת על ידיה. Their Romantic dream (and many of the dreamers were in flight from or reaction to their religious upbringing) was incomplete, something its Rabbinic critics perceived. It nevertheless contained something that was coming out of love and resonated with the Jewish soul: ארצנו ארץ ציון וירושלים

    The Roshei Yeshivah and Rebbes saw the Haskalah as the cause for the Holocaust and sought to cure that. In a way, "If you will it, it is not a dream" could apply to them as well.
    We are now seeing that the way the kollel movement has (evolved? developed?) is becoming destructive to its citizens, and to the surrounding society, be that secular America or modern Israel. The protection of the molesters is but one example; the fact that Jewish mothers would go along with that protection tells us how deep the problem is.

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  45. I first raised the issue of flicking a switch on shabbos as being far worse than molestation according to Harav Miller. The subsequent discussion about whether electricity is truly assur is irrelevant to the original point. Take any other melocha you like. Like removing black marbles to get the red ones on shabbos.

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  46. @Dlz

    Brachfeld really. But its easier to refer to it as Kiryat Sefer since more people have heard of it than "Modiin Illit.

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  47. I don't deal with semantics. Minhag, din, whatever. Thats for you guys to squabble over. I showed you proof from your own hero, the Rambam, that there is no aveira in the molestation, and you outright reject his view. Which is funny because you are the same people who when you hear about something done by one of the Haredi Gedolim that is terrible, you then presume to negate everything he says based on that one act. But you won't do that with the Rambam, who although he himself may not have molested anyone, clearly holds it's not as terrible as you seem to think.
    By the way, I never said I don't think it's bad. I was merely relating to you what your Gadol said. He also says that even if there is actual penetration on a girl, it is not considered an aveira, and on a boy it is not considered sodomy.
    I'd love to hear how you rationalize that statement by the rationalist rabbi.
    Regardless of how you twist it, it's not assur al pi halacha, and there are no issurim regarding mental health or the destruction thereof.

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  48. At 9:03am, Anonymous says “American Jews are vanishing at an incredibly high rate” this is not so according to the latest research.
    And while “Some people are trapped by communal pressure” many are voting with their feet and abandoning the 20th century organized denominational movements while still identifying as Jews by religion. See: http://tinyurl.com/38lfjto (particularly, slides 6, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 17). It is important to helicopter up from our “samples of one” .

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  49. >>>>> I don't deal with semantics. Minhag, din, whatever.

    now I know your just a parody ...

    I see no need to respond further.

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  50. The Wizard said...

    Regardless of how you twist it, it's not assur al pi halacha, and there are no issurim regarding mental health or the destruction thereof.


    Please pay attention, because both you and everyone who holds your position on this matter have a profound misunderstanding of what Rambam holds and are taking a single quote completely out of context.

    Rambam defines the specific acts and circumstances for specific types of Gilui Arayot. For instance, IIRC, in the case of mishkav zachar, if the penetration occured with a flacid male organ, then it doesn't "count" as mishkav zachar. However, that doesn't mean it's permissible. The activity is still a d'oryta Torah averah. Why? Because it falls under the Torah prohibition of ( according to Rambam ):

    הלכות איסורי ביאה

    (לז) שלא יקרב אדם לאחת מכל העריות, ואף על פי שלא בעל.

    In the same manner, miskav zachar on a male under the age of 9 is still a Torah prohibition, just a different one, as listed above.

    Now do you understand that raping a girl under 3 or a boy under 9, even without penetration of the male organ is a d'oryta Torah prohibition under the category of Gilui Arayot, according to Rambam in the Mishneh Torah.

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  51. Wrong.
    And I would use the same source to prove my case.
    "Not coming close" to committing the sin is not the same as committing it. He clearly says it's not biah and that its not punishable as such, both for a boy or a girl. Detestable yes. But not punishable by bais din.

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  52. The Wizard, you are a total Am Haaretz. A child molester violates the Torah Prohibition of Chovel B’Chaveiro, irrespective of the age of the child. The molester is a Rasha who has committed a heinous deed that is equal to injuring another human being within a breath of death.

    Rabbi Slifkin, I wish that you would not have published the aforementioned post by “The Wizard.” Not only is it disgusting, it reflects poorly on the scholarship level of this blog.

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  53. E said:

    now I know your just a parody ...

    I see no need to respond further


    Well, in this case Poshuter does raise an issue that bothers me. Look, if I can read a fatwa of Khomeini and see clearly where he stands on these issues, why is not there a psak of Rav Eliashiv or Steipler that is available? Not that I have any doubts what the truth is(Robert said it), but it is a problem that needs to be dealt with openly an urgently. I see the establishment actively abetting the criminals and I wonder what are THEY thinking?

    There were two molesters on my block. One, a rebbe in a yeshiva, ran away to Eretz Yisroel. The second one, a gabbi in a very frum shul was found dead in his house doused with gasoline and set on fire. Whoever did is a real man, imo.

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  54. People can purchase Rabbi Eidensohn's excellent book he just published on the subject of abuse. It is called Child and Domestic Abuse - Torah, Psychological, and Legal Perspectives.

    It is in two volumes, explained here: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2010/11/child-domestic-abuse-volumes-i-ii.html

    You can purchase at his e-store or on amazon; you can get the volumes separately or both at once.

    After reading through much of volume one, I would say this resource is indispensable. It also shatters many of the myths being perpetuated in the comments section here on the subject.

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  55. Lawrence Kaplan Commnents:

    Carol: I am surprised and troubled to see you endorsing vigilantism.

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  56. Wrong.
    And I would use the same source to prove my case.
    "Not coming close" to committing the sin is not the same as committing it. He clearly says it's not biah and that its not punishable as such, both for a boy or a girl. Detestable yes. But not punishable by bais din.


    Actually, he explicitly says that in the case of a boy a Beit Din should punish the offender with Makat Mardut.

    And if you didn't notice, Rambam says it's Patur - not that it's Mutar. Patur still means its an averah, just that it's not punishable by Mitat Beit Din.

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  57. Lawrence, the victims should have gone to the police. But in this society it was not and still not a done thing. Would it not have been better to kill Kolko 30 years ago? Please see 'The Day My G-d Died' available on youtube. When a society turns victims into criminals there is no other option and you have to take the law into your own hands. This is what being a real man is all about.

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  58. Robert, Posuter was saying that one is not allowed to violate the Shabbos to stop child abuse. Can you explain why it is not so?

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  59. Carol, if you're genuinely interested in the subject I would strongly suggest getting Rabbi Daniel Eidenson's book which you can purchase on Amazon or via his Daas Torah blog which I put a link to in an earlier post in this thread.

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  60. "Molestation is not life threatening in any physical way,"

    This is ignorance. Physical injury is most certainly possible and does occur. Severe injuries do occur, and there have been deaths. Not to mention the transfer of STDs.

    "The Rambam himself states clearly in Hilchos Isurei Biah that "molesting" a child under the age of 3 (girl) or 9 (boy) is not even considered a sexual act and is not punishable at all."

    This is also ignorance:
    1) While the act may not fall under a certain halachic category, it may fall under others. Murder, is not punishable (or even forbidden) under Hilchos Isurei Biah. Can we then follow your logic to its conclusion? While such perversions may not be technically "sexual" they (like murder) do fall under other categories and are definitely prohibited and punishable.
    2) Many (if not most) of the victims are above the age threshold mentioned by the Rambam.

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