Tuesday, June 25, 2019

HaRav HaRasha, Shlita

Back in 2005, Rav Aharon Feldman wrote that the ban on my books was "probably the public issue most damaging to the honor of Torah and to its leaders in recent memory." Well, it's probably safe to say that with the latest news, that will no longer be true. There is a public issue that is infinitely more damaging.

One of the most sick, evil people to masquerade behind the title of "rabbi" is surely Eliezer Berland. It's almost impossible to grasp the extent of his crimes against humanity. He has sexually exploited God knows how many women and girls. He has had people beaten up and has tried to have them killed. He has declared himself a deity. He preys upon the weak to give him their life savings, and laughs about it. He's also utterly insane, happily being recorded on video talking about eating human fetuses on the black market in China. See this deeply disturbing article at the Times of Israel, and this Hebrew website, for extensive documentation of his actions.

Berland confessed in court to indecent acts and assault, and was sentenced to prison. Unfortunately he was released for reasons of poor health, from which he since seems to have recovered. Like Shabtai Tzvi, he still maintains a magical hold on many hundreds of followers.

You'd think that such a sick monster would have absolute pariah status. And yet Knesset Minister Yaakov Litzman, of United Torah Judaism, honored him with a visit when he was sick. When there was an uproar, Litzman claimed that as health minister, it is his duty to help everyone! (As if he would visit me if I was sick!)

Which brings us to the latest news. The top tier of Gedolim and charedi Batei Din in Israel have announced a major, definitive investigation into Berland. This isn't some pashkevil arranged on an ad hoc basis by some kannaim - this is a very serious business. It's a joint effort of the Batei Din of Rav Karelitz, of Rav Wosner, of the Badatz Eida Charedis, and others. And they say that Berland and his followers have committed to abiding by their ruling.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

NO!

First, no further investigation is required. He already confessed in court and was convicted. There's already plenty of video evidence of his madness. What else do you need?!

Second, the Batei Din simply lack the competence to carry out investigations. If Rav Chaim Kanievsky can attest to the innocence of Elior Chen (sentenced to 24 years for severe, multiple child abuse) and justifies it by saying that "I sign whatever my rabbis sign," then what credibility do Charedi Batei Din have?

Third, the idea that he and his followers will adhere to the ruling, whatever it may be, is naive in the extreme. This is a crazy, evil man with a cult following. They are not going to abide by a ruling that he is a rasha.

Fourth, the letter declares that until the Beis Din has issued its ruling, nobody is allowed to say anything negative about Berland and his cult. It even gives Berland a chezkas kashrus with great praise added on top, referring to him as "HaRav HaChasid R. Elizer Berland, Shlita"!

Fifth, there is apparently a very real possibility here that despite the obvious nature of Berland's crimes, the Beis Din will conclude that he is still kosher. The fact that such a possibility can be entertained is too horrible for words.

What does all this say about the charedi rabbinic leadership?

To paraphrase Rav Aharon Lichtenstein - if there is no Daas, how can there be Daas Torah?

91 comments:

  1. "You'd think that such a sick monster would have absolute pariah status. And yet Knesset Minister Yaakov Litzman, of United Torah Judaism, honored him with a visit when he was sick."

    On the contrary.

    A visit from Litzman is the highest form of proof that Berland is a sick monster.

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    1. He didn't honor him for the sake of honoring him. He doesn't want his community to be attacked by the members of Berland's sect that still believes in him.

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  2. How do you know that all these letters and signatures aren't photo-shopped or outright forged?

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  3. Are you sure that this is genuine? These sort of things are usually forged.

    By sure, I mean really sure. Not that somebody told you it was genuine.

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  4. Guessing that the yeshivisher velt has to protect the business (model).

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  5. This story is really sad and disturbing.

    But what is even more sad and disturbing is that if this rasha would embrace religious zionism, start honoring the State of Israel, the IDF etc then and only then would the Charedi leadership put him in cherem and officially label him a rasha. Because only then would he be officially off the derech.

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  6. I'm confused here. This guy "Shimi" that he has on camera and Berland is praising for "setting the prices" of human fetuses that the Chinese eat in Beijing. And the man is smiling and nodding that in fact, yes, he is the "hero" who does that. And Mr. Berland is actually saying he tasted the fetuses? More smiling and nodding from the crowd. What in the world?

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    Replies
    1. Don't be confused. It's called fake news. (Doctored video)

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  7. > He has sexually exploited God knows how many women and girls. He has had people beaten up and has tried to have them killed. He has declared himself a deity. He preys upon the weak to give him their life savings, and laughs about it.

    Yeah, but he didn't say that the universe is billions of years old or something perverted like that.

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  8. Perhaps it would be beneficial to place yourself in someone else's shoes for a minute and understand their viewpoint. They do not trust the secular court system an iota. SOmeone who admits guilt in court, means that he decided that is the best course of action for him, not that he is guilty. If a judge, or a jury, are convinced that something happened, that could just mean that the laws of evidence are on that side, not that the action actually took place.
    Now that some people have decided that Berland is guilty (I know nothing about him at all, not good or bad), a Beis Din has decided to adjudicate the case. I would keep an open mind regarding the whole issue, or just keep quiet and remain with the idea that I don't know and I am not obligated to have an opinion.

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    1. As the lawyer said to the judge about the Chofets Chaim: "Your honour, they don't say such stories about you or me"

      So it's decidedly odd that his supporters haven't wondered why he is the only Tzaddik in Israel accused of such crimes.

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    2. Is that a reason that we don't need a BD to investigate any more? The lawyer's word, 100 years ago, is the last one on the topic?

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  9. As long as there still are people, and a large amount of them, who don't know what to believe, there may be a need to investigate. Just because you are convinced, doesn't mean they are. Especially as a lot of them don't have open internet

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  10. It's these types of incidents that raise eyebrows at the recent case in Israel of the 7-year old girl who was raped. Is it any surprise the arabic man could not be found guilty? And is it any surprise the rape happened in an ultra-orthodox community?

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    1. Your cynicism toward the ultra-orthodox is clearly deeper than you let on. Your knowledge of talmudical sources is clearly advanced. What is your story?

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    2. @Kodesh

      Hey,
      I totally see where your question is coming from. My cynical comments mixed with somewhat of a background (not that advanced) in Talmud... I must have some type of story. Unfortunately (or I guess fortunately?) I don't.
      I'm not one of those guys who grew up in an ultra-orthodox neighbourhood and had some traumatic incident leading me OTD. I consider myself someone who is shomer Torah u'mitzvot and not the kinda guy to search for leniencies in all aspects of halacha to make it easier on myself. I'm just a regular Jew who loves my religion, and I take Torah seriously, which is why I am often so cynical, for whatever issues I have with the charedi/ultra-orthodox world is not so much their insult to secular study (which I am also a believer in), but to chazal and Torah itself. My personal hashkafic decision comes from healthy experiences and relationships within both sides of orthodoxy (ultra and modern), where I personally felt the emet belongs more to the modern stream of orthodoxy. It is an intellectual, not an emotional, choice.
      Maybe the lack of a "story" in of itself makes it a "story"?

      As an aside, the case of the 7-year old girl made absolutely no sense to have been committed by that arabic guy (and trust me, I'm no palestinian supporter, far from it). Nevertheless, he was arrested and I figured if it was him then I'd be happy to be wrong. But based on the court's failure to find him guilty, and the fact that ultra-orthodox circles do indeed commit these crimes and sweep them under the rug (I wish the above article was the only example), it should be raising eyebrows for anyone who is (rightfully) shocked by the horrible incident, while at the same time hoping that justice will be served.

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    3. What does it mean to say that it "doesn't make sense" that so-and-so would have committed such-and-such crime? This is exactly the type of thinking that breeds the coverup culture for "frum" pedophiles. The fact that the court failed to find the man guilty does not necessarily mean he isn't guilty. It looks more like the investigation was botched.

      The girl identified him as the assailant. I'm not saying that's 100% proof of guilt, and obviously the court didn't take it that way, but saying he's innocent isn't too believable. Could it be like you imply that an ultra orthodox man, possibly someone employed by the school, committed this crime and together with conspirators attempted to pin it on an innocent Arab man? Well, anything is possible but why in the world would they do that? The parents obviously would not want to take part in a conspiracy to protect the victimizer of their child. Isn't the usual criminal behavior from that crowd simply to cover up the crime, never report to police, and get a rabbi to say the assailant is innocent and a tzadik and did teshuva?

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    4. The girl identified him as the assailant.

      The girl's mother "identified" the assailant. The girl just went along with it. Because she's seven.

      Sadly, it's far more likely that the mother is covering up for whichever relative actually raped the girl than she believes a Palestinian did the deed.

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    5. The father of the girl also supposedly went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, to ask whether to go to the police or not. People outside of the charedi world found such behavior puzzling. Shouldn't the police be the first address where they should go?
      But it also doesn't add up that Rav Chaim Kanievsky would say to frame an Arab janitor, in order that the "real" assailant wouldn't get into trouble--or so as not to defame the Charedi community.

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    6. @are you sure

      The only thing that makes this man a suspect is that he's not Jewish.
      He was identified only when the parents got involved. If he was the culprit he must have been able to convince two other people to come with him to help hold down the girl, and the fact that not a piece of evidence regarding one of these people could be found is a strong indication that this man had nothing to do with it.
      The details of the story that he lured her into a confined space by offering her candy sounds like something someone saw from a movie. It sounds contrived, and what's more likely is that she went into an isolated place with someone she trusted. The girl also said she was assaulted on another occasion by this man at a shul. Again, if this is true then it would sound a lot more probably that an ultra-orthodox man was the one who did it.

      I do take back my wording of "it doesn't make sense" and I would change that too "it is highly improbable" that he was the rapist.

      You said "The parents obviously would not want to take part in a conspiracy to protect the victimizer of their child." But if the victimizer was close family, or even an important person in the community, then that would change things. Nevertheless, I'm not too convinced the parents are trying to cover this up. They may genuinely believe it was this arabic janitor.

      You said "Isn't the usual criminal behavior from that crowd simply to cover up the crime, never report to police..."
      This is a good point. Perhaps the parents want the child to feel that they are not ignoring it. Perhaps the child expressed out loud what had happened and other people heard about it, and the parents had to actively do something about it. What's likely is that a member of the community did it, and that this arabic man is being blamed for it because in their mind, who else could it be?

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    7. It's a botched investigation, and the implication here that the authorities are trying to frame him because he's Arab is insulting to our intelligence. The same authorities treat the Jewish pedophiles with the same kid-gloves they are using here. It's a country that refuses to extradite serial pedo's to the US to face justice so that they can instead run rampant on Israeli children. And I'm supposed to believe their "exoneration" of this Arab proves the family is involved in a conspiracy to frame him ? Please.

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    8. @are you sure

      If it's botched, it's because the family waited 2 days after the rape to tell the school it happened and waited another week to file an actual complaint, while they tried to do an investigation of their own. You ask me, the whole case is sketchy to begin with.

      I didn't say the authorities are trying to frame him. The authorities apprehended him based on the testimony of the family saying it was him (with the parents coating the victim to do so). If he is being framed it's by the family or people in the community.

      Also, did I use the word "proves"? No. Please stop putting words into my mouth.
      His exoneration indicates that as of now they have nothing on him, and that the real rapist could be anyone in the town. Seeing that people in these ultra-orthodox communities like to sweep everything under the rug, I'd say it's very likely that what's going on here is that she was raped by someone in the community (who would more likely be able to get her into a secluded area, especially when she said she was assaulted at one point in a shul) and in order to cover it up they are pointing fingers at someone that will not put a stain on their heilege community or on Judaism. The berland case, in addition to other instances, are what lend credence (no, not proves) this approach.

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  11. While Berland is clearly insane, the fact that he admitted to those things does not mean he did them, he is clearly mentally unstable and as one who has experience with mentally disturbed people, they can and will imagine all sorts of stuff. I feel bad for him as well as anyone else suffering from whatever sickness he has. The only thing I don't understand is how he has followers (though the same can be said for any cult leaders)

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  12. ...what credibility do Charedi Batei Din have?

    Actually, orthodox Batei Dinim are the only authority that have credibility according to the Torah (certainly not secular courts that judge according to self imposed secular rules). Therefore those who adhere to Halacha will wait for a bet din investigation. BTW, if Rav Berland committed what secular media claimed and what was repeated by motzi shem ra spreading bloggers, he would have got much more than 18 months.

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    1. Whatever he did or didn't do, he is clearly unfit to be a rabbi, even if he only did the very minimum. And a rabbi with many followers.

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    2. The Torah never confers credibility on Batei Din. It only confers authority. But Charedim would be first to remind you that no one has real Semicha today, so no authority, either.

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    3. no one has real Semicha today, so no authority, either.no one has real Semicha today, so no authority, either.

      But of course they have authority w/o real Semicha.

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    4. "BTW, if Rav Berland committed what secular media claimed and what was repeated by motzi shem ra spreading bloggers, he would have got much more than 18 months."

      With someone like Litzman protecting Haredi rapists like Malka Leifer this is hardly surprising. The IL courts were in a terrible position as Berlands crimes span decades in many countries - countries he has had to flee as he and his followers created chaos and hillul hashem wherever they went.

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  13. It's precisely because of things like the fake doctored video where he is "happily being recorded on video talking about eating human fetuses on the black market in China" that a Beis Din is needed to weed out what's true and what was manufactured by his opponents. I'm surprised that someone like you fell for such nonsense. The words don't match what his lips are saying, watch it in slow motion if you must.

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    1. Looking forward to their independent investigation, with resources beyond those of the Israeli legal system.
      What's the Beis Din's budget for forensic experts, experts in trauma, psychologists, private investigators, etc -- or do they simply have these on staff?

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    2. I assume the beis din will be examining the issues regarding the internal politics and how that impacts on the credibility of the witnesses. (Something which they are probably much more qualified to fully understand than the Israeli legal system is.)

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  14. Victory for Berland!
    Quote below is from his official website.
    "Three of the biggest Batei Din (Jewish Courts) in Israel just issued a ruling against the persecution and slander of Rabbi Eliezer Berland shlit”a."
    https://ravberland.com/new-bet-din-of-the-badatz-against-the-persecution-and-slander-of-rabbi-berland/

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    1. What else would we expect from that site? Nothing impartial to be gained from it.

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  15. I watched the video out of curiosity (I never heard of Eliezer Berland and am not really interested in this post.) The words don't appear to fit what his mouth is saying, though that could be just delay. However, the sound doesn't match the scene. Plus the words are so bizarre, it is highly unlikely the people all around him would be so blasé. They would probably all be laughing, at least out of respect, and at least some of them.

    Fake news is rampant in general society. Smart people with a computer and an agenda - no shortage of those in Israel - can make deep fakes that would shock you. All of this goes double and triple in the charedi world, where for every pashkeville there's another saying the first was forged.

    I've no clue whether it's true here or not and personally have no interest in it.

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    1. This comment encapsulates one of society's greatest problems. An admitted rapist is put back in charge of a cult-like group where he can continue to rape people. Response: Who cares? Answer: Apparently nobody. I would have hoped frum people would be more concerned about morality, but I've learned that, if anything, they are more willing to ignore serious moral issues. I guess eating that Kezayis on Pesach is more important.

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    2. @DF The video was doctored

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  16. On an iPhone, only the first sentence appears. I had a terrible fear that "haRasha" in the title referred to Rabbi Feldman.

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  17. That's not true. Also look at the general society. Does it encourage moral and ethical values? Save the wales and support Israelis to die?

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    1. It's true and it's true of general society. As I wrote, would hope that the frum would be better on this topic, but unfortunately we are worse.

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  18. This whole situation is absolutely beyond absurd. Mainstream Breslev Rabbonim have spoken out against him time and time again. Years before any allegations even came out, he was kicked out of the main Breslev Shul in Meah Shearim because he tried to sit in Rebbe Nachman’s chair.
    Rav Ginsberg, Rav Kennig, Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter and many other mainstream Breslev Rabbonim have spoken out against him on numerous occasions.
    I have never been to Uman, but have been told by a trustworthy friend who has, that the last time Berlin’s was there (I think this was last R’H) the main minyan split bc the normal Breslevers didn’t want to be anywhere near him.
    Shem Reshaim Yirkav!!

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  19. This is all quite silly. What exactly do you expect people to do - post comments on the internet? Is that supposed to solve the problem? So, someone who you think is Charedi posted a comment that says 'I don't care'. That reflects upon his frumkeit and the size of his Matza on Pesach!?

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    1. 1) Have an attitude that this is an important problem.

      2) Educate yourself. Watch some videos from Jewish Community Watch.

      3) Become aware of the abuse in your own community. If you don't know of abuse in your community, then you aren't looking.

      4) Reach out to support victims and survivors. People who report abuse are shunned in frum society. Simple phone calls and messages help. Abuse victims report that they are revictimized by their own communities.

      5) Don't be afraid and play and active role. Report abuse that you know about to authorities and to employers.

      There's lots more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/10-positive-ways-you-can-support-victims-of-abuse/

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  20. I guess this all fits in a forum where Rabbi Dr. Slifkin analyzes pashkevillim to see if he can glean some flaw in the writings of R. Chaim Kanievsky or other Talmidei Chachamim. There are perhaps ten people in all of Israel who pay any attention to words plastered on the walls (that includes the printers and those who make their parnassa from the posters), but for Rabbi Dr. Slifkin these become important theological statements to be dissected for the sake of public ridicule.

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    1. You think that the ban on R Slifkin's books had no effect on anyone including those who sell books?

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    2. Rabbi Dr. Slifkin's post refers to the signature of Rav Chaim Kanievsky on a misguided call for charity. Rabbi Dr. Slifkin is very machmir on giving charity dollars only to those who are fully worthy of his support. Only in your mind, and due to Rabbi Dr. Slifkin's sharp pen, does that somehow become conflated with the condemnation of his books fifteen years ago. And we then close with a comment telling the world that Gedolei Torah have no daas.

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    3. It wasn't just a "call to charity" - it was an attestation of Chen's innocence. And even more problematic is R. Chaim's justification for having signed. This isn't a signature on a pashkevil - it's a letter that he wrote.

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    4. This is just silly fake news, and your typical habit of hanging onto some miniscule flaw that you discovered while cherry-picking trivial pashkevillim that were forgotten five minutes after they were posted, before the next poster covers it up. This media campaign of yours is very similar to the tactics of the Israeli press, who are trying to bring down the Prime Monster with the important revelation that his wife ordered too much takeout seven years ago. Perhaps, if you are serious, we can discuss instead Rav Chaim Kanievsky's Sefarim on Seder Zeraim, or Mesechet Kinnim, or if is ethics that you prefer, the Orchos Yosher.

      Give it up, please, you are just embarrassing yourself by stooping to such a level of discourse...

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    5. I get it, you consider it no big deal that R. Chaim thinks it's fine to sign that an accused molestor is a tzaddik on the grounds that other rabbis signed. To others, this is a grievous abuse of rabbinic authority.

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    6. No - it is your tendency to look for every fault that you can possibly find and blow it completely out of all reasonable proportion in order to highlight this in front of the world - all to satisfy some childish vendetta. There is more to say, but no one is actually listening, so it is pointless.

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    7. He's just going to repeat his point about a non-existent Pashkevil over and over. "Just a nobody" supports abuse cover-up and he's not going to change.

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    8. Actually, this discussion is just silly and childish...

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  21. I find it fascinating to think about how this will work.
    Will any of his rape victims testify? Well, we don't have women testify in court.
    Were any of his crimes carried about in front of two kosher witnesses who gave him a proper warning? No? Well toss all that out.
    And the alleged tapes and videos? We don't accept those as testimony in Beis Din.
    A cynic might say that after the Beis Din concludes its investigation strictly k'halakha, it will turn out there is no halakhic evidence that Berland ever committed a single crime. He will subsequently be awarded the "Rubashkin Prize" given out to any honest, pious Jew who has never committed a sin but has been accused and convicted by those nasssssty goyim. No doubt Elior Chen will present it to him.

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    1. Perhaps, if you actually learned halacha, you would see how many embarrassing mistakes you made in that post.

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  22. @Natan - There are some very interesting parallels in the veneration of Buddhist teachers and the excuses made for their behavior in this article I happened to come across today. https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/encounter-shadow-buddhist-america/

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  23. Would have thought the below was obvious to most people on this blog:
    1) chareidim do not recognise secular courts at all. In fact a lot would say if the secular courts say something most likely the opposite is true. So berlands conviction is meaninless to them.
    2) the halachic principle that a person cannot cannot self-incriminate means berlands admissions are meaningless in chareidi eyes.
    3) berlands female accusers are (generally) invalid to give testimony.
    So to normal people he is a rasha. To charedim we have to judge him favourably.

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    1. glad you admit charedim are abnormal
      and your first point suggests a worse condition than simple abnormality

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    2. 1) Halacha does not recognize secular courts, it is not a Charedi perspective.
      2) The halachic principle has nothing to do with the case at hand. No BD is punishing him as the halacha demands, because they don't have semicha etc. The question here will be, 'can he lead a congregation?' For that purpose, self-incrimination, if it makes sense, is plenty. (A court deal has nothing to do with the truth, and any sane person should discount it as a mere tactic)
      3) Females are believed in matters that only female people know. That is the halacha, for Charedim and MO alike. In regular matters, MO also disqualify female witnesses, as the halacha states.

      To normal people, who follow halacha, the situation is unclear To pontificaters, the person is damned for being a Charedi, before any aveira was committed.

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    3. normal people recognize a conviction when they see one.
      Hard not to see how this plays out... how can all the religious parties gather around bibi the crook? they can't morally. so they concoct a religious way around it. how? they decimate the importance of secular courts.
      This is such a dangerous trend.
      Dangerous because it benefits criminals
      Dangerous because Torah is discredited.
      Dangerous because it is stupid.

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    4. Conviction is a legal term, it doesn't tell us he did anything.

      After seeing the doctored video linked over here, how can anyone believe this story?
      Rabbi Berland seems somewhat strange, and I don't have any reason to believe he is a great guy, but these stories are a little over the top.

      Denigrating Secular courts is not the answer to a problem, the Torah does it already, long before the modern era. לפניהם ולא לפני ערכאות, שהמביא דינו לפני ערכאות מייקר שם אלילים

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  24. Fozziebear by your definition all of Orthodoxy and the Rambam himself and all of trafitional Judaism is abnormal. Secular courts are not resorted to if possible.

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    1. What rubbish you talk.
      Secular courts have always been in use (since the time of the monarchy) particularly because people recognized the limitations of the practical application of halacha to daily life.

      https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5520054,00.html

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    2. Fozzie in Ancient Israel the secular courts were supposed to rule according to Jewish law. A secular court was supposed to be a religious court under the government. The Monarch has laws he has to follow as listed by the Torah and the Rambam. If possible you are to go to a Jewish court of law.
      The usual YA

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    3. Fozziebear, we all love you it's ok. No need to trash religion for the hard feelings you have toward some religious people. Actually, halacha defines a Jew are there most certainly aren't any limitations in Judaism and it can function just fine without secular courts. Whether beit din can administer judgement in a secular society is completely another story than saying halacha has limitations in applying to Jewish life and greatly missing hence we need secular courts.

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    4. YA, Anonymous and Locust: that's a pile of Amaratzus you are spouting.

      1) We resort to secular courts for crime in general and abuse in particular because there are no criminal religious courts today. R Elyashiv wrote specifically that you can report an abuser to the secular authorities.

      2) Even within the Jewish court system, we are not limited to Torah rules. The Ran and the Rashba both state that a society run on Torah law alone would fall apart because criminals would have free reign. In fact Batein Din with criminal jurisdiction did not confine themselves to Torah law and punishments.

      3) A Rabbi doesn't have be convicted in Beis Din to lose his position. He doesn't have to be convicted for people to tell others publicly that he is a danger. Brush up on your Chafetz Chaim. If a person is willing to speak publicly, then he or she is deemed credible and their claims must be heeded and looked into for verification. Certainly an open admission is verification.

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    5. David Ohsie I said if possible we go to a religious court. This of course means there will be exceptions. For example to protect life, limb and property if it happened that a religious court couldn't take care of that there was allowance made for going to a secular court. As for the rest of what you said it is irrelevant. You are if possible supposed to go to a religious court even if the rulings would be extrajudicial and even if the Gentile court would rule the same as a Jewish court. The usual YA

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  25. Someone close to R Sternbuch says the letter's a forgery. Not surprising if a whole cult is available to arrange for one.

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2019/06/trumps-jewish-alter-ego.html

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    1. It could certainly be a forgery or part of it could be. Where is the authentic statement which disowns this. Or are we going to have another "well they can't bother to disown anything that anyone says in their name" claim.

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    2. It's we who have to prove a statement is theres. If this has really been big enough news that they wanted to inform the people about they will issue the true story in any event. This would destroy any columnies against them.
      The usual YA

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    3. No, if a forgery goes out to the public under your letterhead, then you need to respond with a correction. There is no reason to think that this is a forgery.

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  26. For more details about this, see here:

    http://www.hyehudi.org/dont-speak-against-berland-wait-really/

    Chaim B.

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  27. The Daas Torah website is from a Talmud Chacham and author. He's straight as an arrow. He wouldn't just say what he said.
    The usual YA.

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    1. How every case of malfeasance ever gets covered up: but this person assured me that there was nothing here. Or there is no way that that person could have known about it and not done anything.

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    2. @DO, I didn't exactly get that. But the Daas Torah website is all about exposing and about fighting cover-ups. Lots of uncomfortable information been on display there for years.

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    3. People who expose others still don't want to expose their own. It matters not, because secret assurance from insiders, which was his source, have zero reliability especially when the statements are self-serving. David's friends have assured me that David is a great guy.

      Delete
    4. What their own? You think he doesn't expose Chareidim?

      The usual YA

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    5. @DO you're usually well informed but utterly clueless about that blog.

      Delete
    6. I didn't say anything about Charedim. I said his own group, whoever that is. His source was an "insider" and thus a member of the group. I assure that my close associates are all innocent.

      Delete
    7. Is that with or without the incrimintaing letterhead? I thought you said you are obligated to disavow whenever someone forges it or else we have no reason to assume innocence? In any event his source he said is reliable. The word insider would not mean in this context a member of his group or not. It's irrelevant. Whether the website is right or wrong it would be highly unlikely he would be basing his opinion on something we needn't reckon with to make an informed opinion ourselves. He runs a serious website. The way you're making it if his source would say it was signed we believe it but if the source says it wasn't we have to dismiss it?
      The usual YA

      Delete
    8. @chaim: Indeed, I've only read that blog a few times. But it matters not, as I said above. His anonymous sources were friends/associates of the people they were defending. That has zero probative value, even if the blog is completely objective (which it isn't).

      FWIW, he banned me from commenting for merely questioning his claim, so that also makes me think that his comments are backed by swiss cheese, but even if his is being 100% objective, they are worthless as I mentioned above.

      Delete
    9. What you're doing is building incredibly weak assumptions upon incredibly weak assumptions. In any event I'm not claiming he is or is not always objective only that he is sincere and runs a serious website.

      The usual TA

      Delete
    10. By your logic we shouldnt believe them even if they were to say he did sign since they could feel it's a great thing.

      The usual YA

      Delete
    11. He's close to one of the signatories. (He translated that person's ban on RDNS on that person's request but said publicly that he himself disagrees.)

      If the signatory himself says they forged his signature, should he too not be believed, cause he's just protecting his guilt?

      Delete
  28. I don't know one way or another but the site owner is not into covering up things and has no axe to grind.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here's from his site.
    https://daattorah.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2019-06-30T17:33:00%2B03:00&max-results=12&start=12&by-date=false

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  30. For all the people, who claim that the letter is a forgery, we finally have something concrete and what it is a short statement at the end of a Torah newsletter, coming not from R Sternbuch but from his students. What the statement says is that his signature on the letter is forged and he never signed it. It doesn't say that the content of letter is incorrect, nor that the Eidah Chareidis Beis Din (which R Sternbuch is the head of) is not participating as indicated in the letter. Thus no evidence from any source yet that the letter is not real and actually some confirmation from R Sternbuch's camp that it si real. (via daas torah blog) https://www.scribd.com/document/415630399/Raav-ternbuch-Forgery#from_embed

    ReplyDelete
  31. It says that his Chasima is forged. The letter refers to the Chasimos printed. Putting together a letter like that means someone is being said to have forged something. Remember yet the site says that all the signings are false. If that's true then who would the letter be for? What seems more likely is that some supporter or supporters of Berland forged it and this can further damage their side.

    The usual YA (TA was a typo)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Which would be the more correct of the two evils, that they signed for him or that they didn't sign and then didn't publicly disavow the forgery?

    ReplyDelete
  33. When all you have is a third hand denial of one unimportant detail (was there a signature or was it just copied), that is almost as good as a confirmation. When R Sternbuch's Beis Din puts out a statement that this is a lie and of course they are not involved in any such case, then it will mean something. A front man denying one small part of it in an unofficial organ is actually confirmation that the story is basically correct.

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  34. If the Bais Din would rule in Berland's favor don't you think the Bais Din would publicize it? What would be the point of someone denying it only to be caught? Also you are saying the issue if he affixed his signatire is one unimportant detail? The issue is about whether ink from a pen was put on the document? What would be the big deal to not already sign if he agreed with it? Second the letter says in print here are the Chasimos. The denial says he did not put any Chasima. That means nothing printed or signed by signature.

    A front man? A denial of a supposed psak when the Torah sheet is supposed to be giving accurate Torah insights from the Rabbi?

    Some lone piece of paper going around you believe but an established published sheet giving his insights is forging his psakim? It's purporting to know better than the Rabbi what his psakim should be? Do I know if he signed? No but the above questions make it extremely unlikely in the absence of anything else turning up.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  35. Berland was also given the honor of lighting the main bonfire in meron on lag bomer, several years in a row.

    ReplyDelete

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