Friday, January 7, 2022

The Making of a Predator

Many are acclaiming a powerful talk about Chaim Walder delivered by Rabbi Moshe Meiselman, rosh yeshivah of Toras Moshe. Full disclosure: Obviously, this is something that is difficult for me, given that (a) he was one of the worst behaved of anyone in the controversy over my books, slandering me personally, (b) he displays extreme dishonesty in his anti-science polemics, and (c) I despise his anti-Zionism, which led him to sit on the dais at the infamous "Israel is an evil regime" rally in Manhattan. Still, listening to his talk, I figured that even a broken clock is right twice a day. It's not a tremendous achievement to condemn a serial rapist, and there is presumably some schadenfreude for Rabbi Meiselman getting to criticize Rav Edelstein and Rav Eichenstein, who are on the other side of the Etz/Peleg dispute. But at least he got it right about Walder. Right?

Well, that's what I thought, until I got some feedback from professionals in the field. They were concerned about serious problems in his talk, which to be honest, hadn't occurred to me. But then again, I'm not remotely a professional in this area, which is why I run everything past professionals for their input.

The first problem is that Rabbi Meiselman stressed how Walder "did not have much of a yeshiva background." He claims that he didn't do well in either Kol Torah or Kfar Chassidim. He repeats that he had "very little knowledge of Torah" and was not successful in yeshiva, which is why he went to the army, "which is not what the elite of the yeshiva world does." 

But, even if this is true, what on earth does it have to do with anything? The message being implicitly given over is that this explains how he could have become a predator, and that a person who succeeds in yeshivah, who has real knowledge of Torah, does not become a predator. If only that were true! It's mistaken attitudes like this which led people to believe that Rabbi Meir Pogrow, who was tremendously successful in yeshivah and became an outstanding Torah scholar, could not possibly be a predator. It's very dangerous to teach people that Torah scholars cannot be predators.

The second problem is what Rabbi Meiselman presents as the "take-home" practical message from all this. According to Rabbi Meiselman, the lesson is that laxity about modesty and looking at forbidden things can lead one down the slippery slope of becoming a predator. He stresses that cellphones and the like are the first step in the descent towards absolute evil.

I had no idea if this was true or not, so I consulted a professional, who told me that it is entirely false. Losing control over one's attraction to others might cause one to engage in a forbidden relationship, which is no small crime. But becoming a serial predator is generally a very different thing, which involves a personality that enables someone to manipulate others and not care at all about the power imbalance and the harm that they are directly causing others.

Does it matter if one does not realize the difference? According to the person that I asked, it matters very much indeed. The problem with rabbis thinking that predators are people who gave in to the regular yetzer hara is that they think that this can be solved with the regular tools. We can get him to do teshuvah! He'll get rid of his cellphone! If he's single, just get him married so that he stops abusing. And if he's already married, then it's his wife's responsibility to give him more satisfaction! Tragically, it's this naivete which prevents rabbis from reporting predators to the police, who are the only ones with the power to actually prevent them from harming people.

Finally, of course, all the problems and safeguards discussed by Rabbi Meiselman are only relevant to harm committed by men to women. But what about harm committed by men to boys - or by women to girls?

As someone pointed out, such rabbis should not be giving their perspective on these topics. They should either be running their planned speeches past professionals, or inviting the professionals to speak instead of them. Rabbis, even brilliant ones with long beards, need to accept the limits of their expertise and authority.


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90 comments:

  1. For the first point, what he's doing is distancing his community from any wrongdoing. "That evil person isn't one of us." And never mind if he was respected in the community. He's not a *real* yeshivish person.

    For the second point, availability of porn is negatively correlated with instances of rape. So even if he was right about it being a typical case of taivah, he would still be wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent points, there's a "no true Scottsman" going on over here.

      Delete
  2. RNS
    I agree with the above but did you run past your below essay on Meir Pogrow with professionals ??

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2016/06/the-change-that-needs-to-take-place.html


    I can see numerous problems with it:
    1)"how last week he could be perfectly acceptable as a maggid shiur but this week he is a rasha with whom one must not associate" (he was always a Rasha what is your question? it is also distressing to victims to say that he was acceptable)
    2)"I first met Meir and his extended family over twenty years ago, when they gave me much hospitality and help, and his ex-wife and her family are truly wonderful people. I feel immense pain for them and for all the victims"(it is very distressing for victims to say how nice he and his family was)
    3)"While these cases are complicated, and there are all kinds of factors to consider, there remains to be more light shed on why it took so long for the condemnation to appear" (seriously? do you not know how hard it is for victims to come forward espessially chareidi ones?)

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  3. I had noticed these shortcomings, but you missed the biggest problem of all:
    Rabbi Meiselman practicly bragged about the apparently widely known fact that Walder was suspect for YEARS!
    How many victims/survivors could have been saved from this monster had these admirably all knowing Rabbis done the right thing and blown the whistle?
    There is no good answer to that. But the fact that this has escaped Rav Meiselmans guilt meter tells you why I am not a talmid of his.

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    1. RMM did not say CW was known to be an ABUSER - just suspect in arayos (they might have assumed consensual) and dishonest. Nor did he say this was widely known - just that some perceptive individuals picked up on it.
      What RMM implies was more known in certain circles was that CW was very different from his public image - not that he was an abuser or even engaged in arayos!
      I think his point in all this is that people should not view CW as some sort of "fallen hero" - despite his public image, he was never a great Jew to begin with.

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    2. Even if they knew that CW was having "only" consensual extramarital relationships--that should be enough for them to publicly condemn his books on "chinuch" as well as his "counseling".

      I worked for a time in a yeshiva for "yeshiva dropouts"--guys that didn't fit into a normal yeshiva when they were younger. After one of them matured a bit, the Rosh Yeshiva started looking for shidduchim for this particular bochur.
      The father of the prospective kallah asked, "Was this bochur with other women?"
      Rosh Yeshiva: "For sure."
      Father: "How dare you suggest such a bochur for my daughter!"
      Rosh Yeshiva: "I'm not suggesting him to your daughter the way he was in the past. I'm suggesting him to your daughter the way he is now."

      CW's case is far more serious. And some of the cases involved liasons with married women, whose husbands divorced them as a result!

      --Yehudah P.

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  4. He said a few times to ask the experts not just the Rabbis as he himself did.

    I think his point about yeshivas is just that having a lot of time on your hands and not feeling good about yourself i.e. not being productive are surefire recipes for disaster. But of course anyone van be rotten.

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  5. "As someone pointed out, such rabbis should not be giving their perspective on these topics."

    Wasn't he giving the speech to his Bochurim in his role as Rosh yeshiva? Nothing wrong with that. Infact, he prefaced it with the statement that he never dreamed of having to talk about such things

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    1. Slander is not an opinion. It's slander. It this a good example for bachurim, to opine about a topic one knows little about? Oh, he knows a few guys in Bene Brak that said things. That settles it. That's all you need guys and you can publicly condemn anyone. That is, if you have a yeshiva. Then you can say anything about anyone. Use the word rasha many times. That makes you convincing. No need for facts, careful consideration. Just whip the crowd into an emotional frenzy.

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  6. In the talk that Rabbi Meiselman gives, when he gets to Chaim Walder, he first says that he's a rasha, but then goes into a series of statements about how this was well known 15 years ago by many Choshuveh Talmidai Chachomim.

    The idea that this was well known by the list of Rabbonim he names, yet they allowed this monster to roam free and prey on their own community is a huge accusation against these Rabbonim.

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    1. He did NOT say they knew CW was an ABUSER - just not a good Jew and not a trustworthy person!

      Delete
    2. I wish you were correct...but you ain't.

      Please listen from the 14:50 mark, when RMM calls CW a Rasha, and then says that Choshuveh Talmidai Chachomim said so about him 15 years ago; that he was oiver the gimmer chamuros.

      How can you possibly reconcile that with these same authorities not stopping him from providing "therapy" or being the leader of the reporting agency for abuse? All in their own community!?!?!

      Regretfully, RMM has eloquently laid out a description of exceptional negligence in leadership.

      Shameful.

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    3. EKL,
      You are misunderstanding Rav Meiselman's clear words, please watch it again. Rav Meiselman said that Rav MM Shulzinger said 15 years ago that CW is *choshud* on the 3 chamuros. Rav MM Shulzinger said this knowing that the person was not "tocho k'boro", and considered his books to be problematic, and he shouted this in a public shiur and did everything he could to get others to disassociate from CW. No one listened to him because Rav Moshe Mordechai was "a kannai". And who are you kidding? No doubt you would have dismissed him as well, had you known of his comments at the time. I can even envision the post RNS would have written against Rav Moshe Mordechai for saying this and attacking Walder...

      Delete
    4. Likewise, the Monsey tarfus scandal was uncovered by ... a few years before the perpetrator was caught but ... was considered a kanai/nut so nothing happened then. People ate tarfus for some extra years.

      Looking forward, happy works with offense is the best defense and some other defenses that might earn him a similar reputation, as appears from some of the feedback, and undo the effect of some of his very good comments. Or it won't. We'll see.

      Delete
    5. Interesting analogy. And here's another one. Beginning in 1999, Harry Markopolos was claiming Bernie Madoff was a fraud and a crook. And no one listened because, well, Markopolos came across as a bit of a kook.

      Then, nearly ten years later, Madoff is caught and it was obvious to all he should have been caught earlier (Madoff himself said that he was shocked his fraud wasn't discovered much sooner), and there goes everyone blaming the SEC for not figuring it out earlier. And Markopolos HAD GONE to the SEC...

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    6. Thank you MM for your insight. I just want to add that such people who "saw" the negative before everyone else aren't necessarily more perceptive. It's just luck. They see skeletons everywhere and once in a while that coincides with the truth. For all we know, usually they're way off.

      Delete
  7. Wow, so you found a "professional" to tell you exactly what you wanted to hear. Something that just so happens to align with your secularist worldview. Amazing how that works! Of course such professionals will never take responsibility for the absolutely massive rates of sexual abuse that plague their society. And they will never, ever blame their immoral, promiscuous culture that has no boundaries, and allows, for example, girls to attend drunken parties with men. The culture they promote. No, immorality and lack of boundaries have nothing to do with it! Nothing to see here folks!

    Guess what? I asked a professional psychology psychologist PHD, who happens to have amore traditional outlook,and he told me in his opinion, sexual assault has everything to do with lack of boundaries. The complete of opposite of what your guy told you!

    It's all you need to know that you've been fed a bunch of hogwash, and RMM is absolutely right. But the facts speak for themselves. Astronomical rates of sexual assault in the communities these secularist professionals practice in. Of course, they are not to blame! They have adhered to "professional standards" after all!

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    1. "a professional psychology psychologist PHD"

      Wow! I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that this professional psychology pyschologist practices psychology.

      Delete
    2. "Guess what? I asked a professional psychology psychologist PHD..."
      "Wow, so you found a "professional" to tell you exactly what you wanted to hear."

      Delete
    3. I have two questions: Why do people respond to this troll? And how bored do you have to be to come to a man's private blog just to anomalously mock the writer?

      Delete
    4. RNS: spot on. Well said.

      @happygoluckypersonage: you have no clue what you are talking about.

      Delete
    5. How bored do you have to be to write 10 or 15 articles in a row about the supposed failings of a community that you are not part of - especially when your own community is doing MUCH worse in that regard?

      I am not mocking the writer. Certainly not "anomalously". I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy that's obvious to anybody not steeped in secularist culture. It's like somebody in who lives in inner-city Baltimore complaining about the crime in Helsinki. And saying stuff like "well, at least our police have better training on how to respond to murders"

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    6. Yitz, would you like to explain in more detail? Do you deny that the immoral, promiscuous secularist culture that you identify with has massive rates of sexual abuse? It's like denying the existence of the sun. Oh, you don't deny it, you just say that has absolutely nothing to do with the culture in question. No siree, nothing to see here! 馃榿馃榿

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    7. Lol. Nobody claims there is no abuse in the "secularist" community (whatever that means). Just that there are specific problems in the Haredi community which exacerbate the problem. Shouldn't be particularly hard to understand, especially for a genius obsessed with calling other people ignoramuses.

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    8. Lol, I'm also not claiming that there aren't perhaps specific deficiencies in "chareidi community" (whatever that means). Just that there are loads and loads of terrible, overwhelming problems with your secular culture that breeds *massive* amounts of sexual abuse. Your culture is practically *defined* by sexual abuse. All this effort going into attacking your betters and defending yourselves would be better spent fixing the problems with your own community.

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    9. A 2007 study (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5871332_History_of_Past_Sexual_Abuse_in_Married_Observant_Jewish_Women) in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that over a quarter of married Haredi women report having been sexually assaulted, a rate slightly higher than the rate found on secular American college campuses, and 16% report having been abused before the age of 13, which is likely a much higher percentage than found in the general population.


      Haredi victims of sexual assault, because of the social gender separation and the observance of yichud, are more often sexually abused by their spouses (https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-valor-among-abused-haredi-women-1.5277386), raped by family members (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-woman-spearheading-the-fight-against-sexual-assault-among-haredim-1.5455644) or sexually assaulted by same-gender mentors. Devastatingly, 45% of sexually assaulted ultra-Orthodox respondents in the aforementioned study did not report the abuse to anyone (https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Characteristics-of-Sexual-Abuse-in-Subjects-Reporting-Abuse_tbl1_5871332), even though 76% of the time, the abuser was a relative or someone they knew.

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    10. Meir Moses, thanks for doing your homework. Your study shows the complete OPPOSITE of what you wanted to prove.
      -26%?? In the general population it's AT LEAST 51%!!! (https://stopstreetharassment.org/our-work/nationalstudy/2018-national-sexual-abuse-report/)
      -16% before the age of 13? In the US female general population, it's AT LEAST 25.3%!! (https://journalistsresource.org/criminal-justice/global-prevalence-child-sexual-abuse/)
      -Here's the real kicker. From that very study "Women who were raised observant reported significantly LESS childhood sexual abuse than those who became observant later in life." And keep in mind that this population was a significant portion of the study. Which proves the obvious, that the abuse is MUCH worse in the secular world.
      -Your links from Ha'aretz don't bring any statistics at all, certainly not "more often". If you want "more often", how about this: "We Are All Sexually Harassed in the Israeli Army, Almost on a Daily Basis" (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/.premium.MAGAZINE-israeli-choreographer-takes-on-routine-sexual-harassment-in-idf-1.6717980)

      In conclusion, any numerical comparison shows the secularist population has STAGGERINGLY high rates of sexual abuse, much higher than the "Hareidi" population. And among the "Hareidi" population, the rate of child sexual abuse is much higher for those who became "Hareidi" later in life. So stop trying to hide from the obvious, that your corrupted, immoral secularist culture has a HORRIBLE sexual abuse problem, and all your "professionals" are not helping at all. And are even making the situation worse, by promoting this culture.

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  8. I agree that this speech is problematic. These are some of the things I noticed.

    1. The anecdote he shares with the gay man who was a convert and had tried to die by suicide- I don't know what therapist this rabbi went to, but you cannot just say to such a person "If you want to commit suicide, do it, but don't put it on me" which is basically what he did. I think that's a serious lack of comprehension/ empathy and found that story horrifying.

    2. Categorizing suicide as retzicha is very dangerous. The typical person who dies by suicide is in serious pain and mentally ill. The way he categorized this by not making ANY distinction whatsoever and then saying all these things about such people who commit retzicha being a "rasha gamur" is very distressing.

    3. He talks about how all these rabbis knew Chaim Walder was a rasha up to 15 years prior. If so, why did none of them inform the community who was being impacted by this far prior to the Haaretz article? Why did they abdicate their responsibility?

    4. He tries to distance the man from the Charedi community by denigrating his learning and saying he served in the IDF. Please. Chaim Walder was a huge part of the Charedi community and the message that "oh, he's not really part of our community" is unacceptable.

    5. The thing about the therapists is problematic. There are people who are best helped by someone who is of the opposite gender, and if it is done properly, it is not an issue. The logic that the issue here is that women saw a male therapist is just a misread of what happened here (and also doesn't take into account that Chaim Walder also abused males!)

    There might be more but that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.

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    1. "1. The anecdote he shares with the gay man ... I think that's a serious lack of comprehension/ empathy and found that story horrifying."

      I heard in the name of experts, but you must of course confirm this on your own that some suicides are from sadness, others are from revenge-that person x feel guilty for the death. If you ascertain that it is the second type, then you must convey to the one threatening that you won't feel guilty, and this way you'll save his life! And conveying empathy can have the reverse effect. Obviously this has to be presented wisely.

      I heard this during a shiur from a prominent Rav, quoting a lecture he heard from professionals during seminar he attended. Some time later this exact thing happened to him, someone whose divorce he had overseen told him he would be committing suicide. He decided that it was for revenge and conveyed the above. And the person dropped the plans.

      Your sentiment is true for the other type of suicide. This is what I "know" but double check this with someone who "really knows.

      Delete
    2. 4. ... I didn't get the impression he was distancing the man from the Chareidi community, only that he was from its low end.

      5. ... What is the Halachic solution to having a male-female therapist-client situation?
      I don't know if Ramban bears onto this issue, but IIRC he says that a man who sins with women will go on to sin with men. Then if he stays away from women he won't go on to sin with men. Today they say that some sin with men without sinning first with women, but that wasn't the case here. And anyway a half solution is better than nothing.

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  9. It's quite simple. Either studying Torah full-time and obsessively observing the strictest interpretation of the mitzvos is a path to righteousness or it isn't. If it isn't, then what's the point? Therefore, in order for his life to have a point, he has to invoke the "No true Scotman" argument. Otherwise, frankly, we could look at him and all his Torah achievements and wonder, hmmmmm......

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    1. "It's quite simple. Either the covid vaccine works or it doesn't."

      Delete
    2. I don't understand. Are you suggesting CW was ''obsessively observing the strictest interpretation of the mitzvos''? Because if so, I've heard of twenty-to plaignants who beg to say otherwise. But Rabbi Slifkin is right, it has nothing to do with his supposed failure in yeshiva, at least not in that sense. To the opposite, it's a failure for his yeshiva.

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  10. 1) As someone pointed out, such rabbis should not be giving their perspective on these topics.

    He was talking to his talmidim! Is that not allowable now too?

    2)Rabbi Meir Pogrow, who was tremendously successful in yeshivah and became an outstanding Torah scholar

    He was considered a chamor nosei seforim, not an outstanding Torah scholar. I learned in Aish Hatorah while he was there, and this was always his reputation. There's no question that his output in terms of recorded shiurim was incredible in both quantity and quality-- but not in depth, and he never claimed otherwise.

    But, RNS, your points are well-taken. Just realize that it doesn't seem that anyone's take on this will be sufficiently comprehensive at this point. It's just too soon. At least RMM addressed it in a way that's wasn't totally tone deaf.

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  11. It's genetic, no amount of learning can help a person. If he is G-d fearing, the only options are a full castration or suicide on Kiddush Harlem before any harm is done.

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    1. Making Kiddush in Harlem Friday night after dark is suicide. Better make it during daylight on Shabbos morning.

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    2. Kiddush Harlem is an interesting option.

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  12. A side point: R Dovid Gottlieb is married to Rebbetzen Tziporah Heller-Gottlieb. He is also a Talmid chaver of RMM. Those two expressed opposite opinions. Whose side is he on?

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    1. what a wierd comment, does a talmid have to always say exactly the same as his rebbe?

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    2. 1. It wasn't such a serious inquiry in the first place.
      2. You do not appear familiar with that culture or subculture in which the talmid is in fact meant to toe the line to the rebi's view. Surely you are aware that for example Kornreich is proud never to disagree with RMM. He doesn't consider that WEird.

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  13. Rabbi Slifkin, your criticism is necessary and often on the mark and it would be a shame to give reason for people to write you off. Even though you prefaced the post with your bias, it would have served us all better if this was not posted. This was a bit of an obvious "nit-pick" and had it been someone else I doubt this would have gotten attention.

    Each crowd needs to be spoken to in a specific way, there's no one-size-fits-all address. A more polite post, commending him for what he said and yet pointing out what was not said and could have been expressed better would have been very welcome and much more effective.

    As far as when the time will come for you to realize that you have grown past the predators who have harmed you, I hope that will be soon. I think you came out a far bigger person than you would have otherwise.

    Shabbat Shalom!

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  14. Everybody who's upset at the Rabbis for not doing something earlier, nobody said they had any idea of what he was up to. They had an intuitive feeling that he was a rotten guy, perhaps they saw he wasn't trustworthy, etc. They didn't know he was a predator!

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  15. There you have it folks.
    If you dont sit in a kollel
    If you are a zionist
    If you are modern
    etc etc

    Bottom line if you are not charedi enough then you too can become a Chaim Walder but if you are Charedi enough and become a Chaim Walder then we will claim that you werent enough Charedi.

    It reminds of that old joke of the person wanting to convert to christianity before dying. When asked why the person replies better that a christian dies than a jew.

    Same scenerio here. If a charedi person commits these types of atrocities and chilul hashem then he wasnt really charedi. He must have been modern orthodox and even a zionist!!

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    1. I don't think he was saying that wasn't Charedi enough but just that he wasn't a very learned person nor a good person. You can still be Charedi and not be the best if individuals. Nobody denies that some Charedim are messed up.

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  16. I think the vort may be that he was a dropout so the MO version would be a dropout also. That is at least a plausible interpretation although he takka is most likely racist against Zionists

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  17. "Rabbis, even brilliant ones with long beards, need to accept the limits of their expertise and authority."

    this is the 2nd most difficult thing for them to do, the 1st would be to fight against predators.

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  18. He's antizionist, but this was not about zionism. It's about abuse, rape, which he condemned.

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  19. RNS shows how unhinged he gets the moment RMM gets some positive publicity on the internet. RMM is bucking the Chareidi Israeli establishment and doing the right thing by condemning Walder and calling out those who blamed his suicide on loshon horo--but RNS cannot let this stand! Not for a moment!
    He couldn't actually see anything wrong with what RMM said, so he had to go around and FIND someone who thinks there was something wrong! Pathetic!
    And the critique is absurd because RMM says -- emphatically quoting the Rambam-- that the way to stop abusers is by shaming them in public and not trying to get them to do teshuvah!
    But if you're as desperate as RNS is to knock RMM, you'll swallow any criticism without thinking twice.

    It proves RNS doesn't really care about condemning Walder or his victims' plight. He are just using this scandal to score political points against his enemies. And he twists anything to fit his narrative even when the facts start to go against it. Pathetic.

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    1. Hil Sanhedrin 24:5
      Here:
      https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah%2C_The_Sanhedrin_and_the_Penalties_within_their_Jurisdiction.24.5?lang=bi&with=Translations&lang2=en

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    2. The unhinged person appears to be you, Rabbi Kornreich. RNS relayed some perfectly appropriate criticisms by professionals in the field. But because they are relayed by RNS - or because it is criticism of your rebbe - you go crazy and write a comment which is virtually all about RNS. And you make a bizarre and nasty extrapolation that RNS does not care at all about victims of abuse.
      (Regarding the very small substantive part of your comment, while RMM did indeed speak about shaming abusers, the point was that the underlying cause of abuse that he discussed is not actually correct and is a cause *in general* of rabbis taking the wrong approach with abusers.)

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    3. Nope, Dovid Kornreich is 100% correct.
      RMM IS 100% correct.
      At this time, we should not be scoring points on previous broiges issues. I'm impressed by how Rmm is so respectful for the RZ Dayan Rav eliyahu. He is not trying to settle scores with ideological opponents, he's simply disgusted by walder, and those who defend him.
      Save the zoo science for another day. Dinosaurs never raped anyone, that we are aware of!

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    4. I just think it's funny that a guy who ran a blog for *ten years* dedicated to attacking R. Slifkin, and defends his rosh yeshivah who wrote an *800 page book* attacking R. Slifkin, claims that *R. Slifkin* is the unhinged one!

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    5. If RNS thinks Rav Meiselman wrote an 800 page book just to attack him, as if he is the center of everyone's universe, then he's got way bigger ego issues than I ever imagined.

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    6. Nope, Dovid Kornreich is 60% incorrect.
      RMM is around 75% correct on this topic, but as Rabbi Slifkin pointed out, the 25% incorrect looms larger than its proportion.
      No true scotsman fallacy being applied to this topic is bonkers. Admit it, FKM.

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    7. Oh? So why *did* he write the book, then? To attack Stephen Hawking?

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    8. He says why--it's right there in the beginning of the book. You should read it sometime.
      He doesn't cite Slifkin's books ONCE in the entire 800 pages. Oher writers wrote similar things way before Slifkin came on the scene.

      Delete
    9. He refers to him plenty but wouldn't give him the dignity of saying his name. It's also a strategy for him and others, like in the previous comment, to be evasive later.

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    10. Numbers c...
      Yes, something like that.
      I think there are some minor errors or subject to debate areas in RMM shiur. In an elusive obvious way, what he says about the army is sociologically true in the chareidi world. In other words there are no chareidi hesder yeshivas. It's not the norm for them to do army. That is not new information, we all know that. He's not discussing his book on science here, it's about a scandal that has shocked Mizrachi rz, Sephardi, secular, and hareidi communities. He mentioned r shmuel Aurbach, but 20 years ago when the incident occurred he was probably on the moetzes.
      His sevara is the best I've seen so far. Perhaps it is because it agrees with what I've been arguing on blogland. What he says about free choice is good - there is still a free choice Vs determinism debate in philosophy of mind. Reminding us of free choice releases (most) of us from delusion that we cannot change. Saying that suicide is never justified is important, because all the ksilim saying that walder was a victim of murder. Bnei brak are spreading their own blood libel, it's important to counter this big ponovezh lie.

      Delete
    11. I say don't bear a grudge. Even if I were to read both RMM & rns books, so what, we had these debates in university about evolution. Big deal. This scandal is much more serious than bronto burgers and the Flintstones. Is this blog all about evolution? Seems it's a bit obsessive to bring those science debates into every single thing.

      Delete
  20. You are missing the point. I may disagree with RMm about certain issues, and with RNS on certain other issues. Don't judge the argument by who is making it, judge by the content, and logic.
    DK is understating the importance of this statement, IMHO . The statement of rav meiselman shows he doesn't have knee-jerk hatred of rav Eliyahu. Shows he is bringing independent sevara , and evidence from within the hareidi world, that breaks the silence narrative.
    Yes, there are grounds to shame a rasha. Yes, it's a duty to clean the earth of such scum.
    He also shows what a big lie the suicide note is. And how some fools just gobbled it up as daas Torah!
    Some people take the suicide note to be the psak of the century, overriding the Torah, rambam, the shulchan aruch etc.
    To me, the safety of kids is paramount. polemics, philosophy are secondary.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rambam in hilchot Sanhedrin gives the qualities required to be the av bet din. Someone who is too old is barred, because he will be too strict. Someone who doesn't have children is barred because he doesn't have rachmanus.
    It might be that someone with kids doesn't have rachmanus either. I worry about where the rachmanus has gone, those who call themselves rabbonim, but don't care one iota about abuse against kids, boys, married woman...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Again, people raise the criticism that everyone knew for 15 years. Buy I don't think that's the case. He made enquiries, gathered various information. The rsza Story, the others, were not known by everyone. He he did some detective work, pieced together information, to get to this point.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Not sure which post to submit this comment to, but it appears from
    https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=59509&st=&pgnum=245&hilite= and
    https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=59509&st=&pgnum=246
    that there's no problem with the books. The subject of the Tshuva is reportedly that popular composer-singer. Initially the Tshuva only deals with 2 categories, 讻驻讬专讛 and 拽诇讜转 专讗砖, but later also deals with a third, 诪讜诪专 诇转讗讘讜谉. As the exposed know, the composer-singer received such a severe posthumous beating from #metoo that his daughter had to preside over a special apology ceremony for the victims. (A sanitized version of the whole story can be found in RF's "Eye".)

    The elephant in the room is that his tunes are used in Hassidic courts, reform temples, and everywhere in between, except for Ooorah, which, on orders from the top, refuses to do so. What about legitimizing the victims? One blogger claims that this singer brainwashed his first wife to divorce him and is pained every time he hears his tunes. What about his feelings?! Oh, but the tunes are irresistible and inspiring, no one outs them. Instead they're Dveikusing with 诇讜诇讗 转讜专转讱 and 砖驻讻讬 讻诪讬诐 of this 诪讜诪专 诇转讗讘讜谉.

    But anyway, the Tshuva is Mattir.

    However, in the current climate an issur can accomplish that the current person be appropriately vilified; and a clear message be conveyed. That would be some type of Horaas Shaah.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I must add a legend about the singer.

    On the day of his death, he was at a restaurant and whatever the details, someone refused to shake his hand because "you're a sinner". The singer said but Hashem is 谞讜转谉 讬讚 诇驻讜砖注讬诐. Why not you? Said the other that's when they do Tshuva. Where's your Tshuva? So right there in the restaurant the singer recited the Vidui. It was some spectacle ... a few hours later he passed away.

    The True Judge knew how to judge him; everyone else is curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we've all heard that Christian-flavored wish-fulfillment bubbe mayseh.

      He had a name, you know. Oh, and one wife.

      Delete
    2. I'll guess that you say it *didn't happen cause it *couldn't have happened cause these thing *just *don't happen. Also cause it's something an interested party would want to concoct. But if I'm curious enough I'll try to trace it. Who would you trust? An admiring biographer or relative aren't reliable? Okay. So who?

      --

      Thank you for pointing out a flaw in the clarity of my comment. Let me correct that:

      One blogger claims that this singer brainwashed his (= THE BLOGGER'S) first wife to divorce him and [THE BLOGGER] is pained every time he hears his (=THE SINGER'S) tunes. Since then the blogger remarried and is living happily ever after.

      Cheers!

      Delete
  25. I was curious about Rabbi Moshe Meiselman's comment that "For example, in 15 children’s books, he does not mention the Ribbono Shel Olam once, which is highly suspicious." So thought I'd check it out. I'm not privy to testimony that the beis din in Sefas claims to have heard. But I can test the veracity of this alarming claim. I opened up a random book "Kids Speak 6," which happens to be on my shelf. And right there on the second page (which is numbered p. 14 as the numbering includes the introduction) is "It turns out that the Creator of the world doesn't give a person an ability for no reason." How about that. And then on the fifth page (numbered 18) "I raise my eyes to the mountains and pray, 'From where will my help come?'" Then on the sixth page "Shema Yisroel." (p. 19) Interesting. And what else? "Someone who trusts in Hashem buys one ticket as a reasonable effort on his part. That's called 'hishtadlus.' He doesn't try to 'convince' Hashem." (p. 86) "Thank G-d I managed to get here on time." (p. 96) "It says in Taana D'Vei Eliyahu, 'HaKodesh Baruch Hu said to Yisrael: My children, what do I ask of you? Only that you should love each other and honor each other.'" ( p. 99) "I went to daven Ma'ariv in the hospital's shul. When I came to 'Refa'einu," I burst out crying. I cried out to the Creator of the world to see my mother's suffering and the suffering of our whole family. All the hurt and pain within me came out in my tears. 'Hashem,' I pleaded, 'why doesn't anyone remember that I have a bar mitzvah?' (p. 160) "She handed me the invitation. On the top it said, 'With praise and gratitude to Hashem..." (p. 163) That's eight references in this book alone. I would image that there are more because I didn't read the book cover to cover. I plucked out these references to the Ribono Shel Olam in ten minutes of flipping through it. So who was Rabbi Meiselman talking to when he said, “So shut up if you don’t know [the facts].”

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    Replies
    1. Not surprising. Rabbi Meiselman is famously dishonest in his claims. In this case, he wants to argue that Walder was a rasha because he wasn't a proper Ben Torah, so he'll happily make false claims to that end. He probably also completely made up the claim that Walder didn't do well in yeshiva.

      Delete
    2. You flicked through one book. There are at least 60 books. R Meiselman said 15 of them. So 1/4 of the books. Which 15?
      Also , I've not been a fan of R meiselman, I don't know much about him. But his lecture is very good.

      Delete
    3. My suspicion is that once you got past the first one or two Kidspeak books, Walder didn't write any of them, just put his name on the writing of others. Please check the first Kidspeak book and let us know what you find.

      Delete
    4. "... didn't write any of them, just put his name on the writing of others...."

      If this is true, the publishers will certainly say so to the public, so that they should be able to sell the books. If they don't say so, that indicates the opposite.

      IIRC the first book precedes any claims against him in which case we would say 讘讗讜转讛 砖注讛 注讚讬讬谉 讻砖专 讛讬讛.

      Delete
    5. I found another Chaim Walder book in my house. It's called "Our Heroes." Here's what I found in ten minutes: "'You think it's only a string of coincidences?' I asked. 'I think it's measure for measure. It's the Hand of God.'" (p. 27) "What a desecration of God's Name there would be were it to become known that at the conference of the most esteemed rabbis in Europe a valuable coin was stolen, and that all the rabbis were searched!" (p. 39) "It is a desecration of God's Name." (p. 40) "It seems clear to me that God has presented us with this terrible situation so that we can learn a great deal more than what we learned all the days of the conference." (p. 42) "It was thanks to those plants that we survived and baruch Hashem I made aliyah to Eretz Yisroel and have such wonderful talmidim -- so wonderful that they will certainly not steal from me the mitzvah of gratitude to the Creator of the world and the plants He created that saved my life." (p. 98) "Rabbi Gustman told an acquantaince that he owed thanks to the Creator, because it was thanks to the sun He created that he got this saving." (p. 98) "Then my father told the people at the class, 'I too owe thanks to Hashem for sending me the ungrateful driver who made such a strong impression on my beloved son, showing him how lowly such a character trait is and allowing him to realize the importance of gratitude." (p. 99) "Hashem sends a soul down to this world and He decides when to take him back. Sometimes Hashem wants people to repent and so He takes the soul of someone beloved, and that makes everyone think about whether they can improve their behavior." (p. 136) "Why don't we just say, 'Hashem decided and that's it!'" ( p. 137) "Hashem decrees a decree and he can also cancel it, if people repent. You yourselves know that there are a lot of very sick people who get better. That happens when Hashem sees that people repent before the decree is enacted." (p. 137) "It was a great sanctification of God's Name..." (p. 145) "We brought pleasure to a lonely widow, and we also had the merit of sanctifying Hashem's Name." (p. 156) "The Rabbi looked at the water, said a blessing in a loud, strong voice, 'Baruch attah Hashem, Elokeinu Melech haOlam shehakol nihyah bdvaro,' and began to drink." (p. 174) "He is the real God and there is none other besides Him." (p. 177) "When you don't rely on yourself but instead place your faith in Hashem and say, 'there is none other besdies Him,' then Hashem will save you from every misfortune." (p. 177) That's at least fifteen references to the Ribbono Shel Olam in this book. And they tend to come at key moments when truths are realized and lessons learned.

      On top of that, there are plenty of religious references in general: hashavas aveidah (p. 19), honesty (chapter one), Ksav Sofer (pp. 36-47), birkas hamazon (p. 37), Chofetz Chaim (p. 78), lashon hara (p. 90), Daf Yomi (p. 95), Rav Chaim Ozer (p. 96), Rav Gustman (p. 98), tzedakah (p. 105), davening on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (p. 106), Rav Moshe Feinstein (pp. 126-129), Rav Wolbe (p. 129), Rav Chaim Friedlander (p. 131), Gan Eden (p. 136, 159, 166), Moshiach ( p. 137-8), Lag b'Omer (p. 139), Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (p. 146), Torah study (p. 149), the Divrei Chaim (p. 157), Rabbi Shalom Shwadron (p. 157), Rav Shemuel bar Yitzchak (p. 168), seudas hodayah (p. 174), Rav Chaim Brisker (p. 178-181), Shabbos (p. 187). Actually, it seems that the entire book is built on religious themes, lessons, and principles.

      Delete
    6. Kalonymous A Monk your comment works as follows: Meiselman must be right so I'm going to concoct any kind of logic to defend his obviously false claim. His inference is that Walder never mentioned the Ribbono Shel Olam. Meiselman didn't say in a portion of the books he didn't. The suggestion was that this describes all of his books. If Walder has books full of references to Hashem, which is more than many books and shiurim these days, then you can't make the claim, even IF there are books that don't. (Name them please.) I went to a yeshiva dinner recently where neither Hashem nor mitzvos were mentioned over the course of three hours. I have read many hespedim/memorial articles that have the same omission. When you pronounce guilt on a man you need to present some facts. I'd like to hear which Walder books don't mention the Ribbono shel Olam. I found two that do, the two Walder books I have in my house. The onus is on you to present some factual information, if you want to destroy a family. And not only that, there are many people who have drawn inspiration from those books. You want to mess with their heads now?

      Delete
    7. Mishmar Halevi Your suspicion? What's that based on? Evidence? Something about the writing style? Is it based on anything other than your taking great pleasure in defaming people and assuming the worst about others? The good news behind your ridiculous assertion is that if Walder didn't write anything after the first two books, then we don't need to remove them from the house even according to the hysterical rulings by some that we must.

      Delete
    8. Kalonymous A Monk, according to Wikipedia, Walder wrote 14 children's books. You can look it up. There's no 60 children's books. Let's talk from fact, not fantasy. I have two of them in English. They talk all about the Ribbono Shel Olam, at least two dozen times in two books. Meiselman is just plain wrong here. There's no getting out of it. He just wanted to say something that sounded incriminating even if it had no basis in fact. And what's scary is that he stressed it like it was a major point.

      Delete
    9. BT - I'm sorry if it reads that way, but what i wrote was that he claimed 15 of the books do not contain..
      And he wrote over 60 books. 15 x 4 = 60, so the fraction of "unholy" (by Meiselman's definition) books would be 1/4.
      Then you need to do a reasonable sampling. It is more likely that his most successful books would still have references to G-d and Judaism. For example, J K Rowling has written many books, but not all of them contain references to Harry Potter. So If i hold 3 Harry Potter book sin my hands and say Look! Look! that is not a representative sample.
      In any case, i did not say that Meiselman's data was a) correct, or b) meaningful .
      In order to test hsi claim, one would need to go through each of the books he wrote, which is a waste of time, unless you have plenty to time to throw away.

      Delete
    10. BT, wikipedia is not a reliable source and in fact says needs updating. They don't offer a complete biography.
      Look at amazon, they have over 30, and that is just in English, not all the books are necessarily translated.
      you seem to be fixated on your own ideology, and use flimsy evidence to reinforce your beliefs.

      Delete
    11. https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/chaim-walder/323688/

      not sure if i can post a website

      Delete

    12. BT-

      thrift books lists 34 of his books in English
      that doesnt mean they sell or stock all the books he has ever published , which were written in Hebrew.

      so you have 5 of his books, perhaps the world is lying to suggest he published more than 5! That is how your twisted mind seems to work.

      Delete
  26. Rabbi Slifkin, I don't know what to think.
    First of all, I'm really amazed that, having so much prejudice against Rabbi Meiselmann, you couldn't think yourself of these flaws in his speech, they seemed evident to me, and I'm far from being an expert.
    People do need to understand that power and unaccountability are the main problem, not basic sexual tendencies. Like Lord Acton said: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    On the other hand, I think you're being a bit unfair with a speech he only gave his talmidim, and in which he showed readiness to aknowledge the problem, and the right immediate solution: breaking the silence seal.

    ReplyDelete
  27. In a world where pictures and headlines are what most people read and/or remember I think it is not appropriate to have this headline with his picture

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow.
    Just your point on people who succeed in learning Torah still being able to be predators indicates a misunderstanding of basic probability. Yes, a learned person who has put in effort can still become an abuser. But no - he is not more likely to become an abuser. Perspective is key. It's like saying "Bochrim speak loshon horah'. Yes, some bochrim may gossip. But remember - bochrim are the people who are most focused on developing their characters and are more likely to know the laws (or importance) of bad speech.
    Here's a blueprint for your thought process, to put things in perspective: If bochrim speak loshon horah, other people for sure do.
    If shulchan aruch is kept, abuse is less likely. It had to be that basic hilchos yichud and other important halochas were violated in the case at hand. Hence, Torah observance was clearly lacking. Hence lack of importance and emphasis on Torah being the final word was evident.
    Lastly, 'power' being the motive falls under kovod, which is a basic tool of the yetzer horah. So this is indeed the work the yetzer horah These are basic concepts my man.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Irrationalist JudaismJanuary 15, 2022 at 9:36 PM

    Don't you think the title of this post, juxtaposed with a picture of a Rosh Yeshiva who attacked the predator in question, could be a bit suggestive of something else?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Not surprised at all to see him say these things. R' Mieselman frequently runs away from hard conversations where he can be wrong. Whether it was gaslighting and attacking you R' Slifkin, attacking anyone who challenged his divine connection to JB / Briskership / Authentic Torah Judiasm, and just general day-to day speeches. I had the misfortune to attend many of them during my 2 years attending the cult of "Tomo"

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think the point about his learning abilities weren’t to say that being learned means you are not able to wrong or if one isn’t learned that means you did wrong. There’s an halachic distinction between a Talmud Chochum and a regular person. We have more belief in someone’s word who is a Talmud Chochum and also have to be more careful in punishing or slandering them (see the Gemara in 3rd Perek of Moed Katan where you first say quietly etc - there’s a story where one is put in excommunication due to his illicit reputation so it doesn’t mean you don’t punish). In this case, he was saying just as kal vchomer, meaning you have all these people saying he’s a monster and this person is just a regular guy, he’s not a scholar or known for his righteousness, there’s no reason at all to bend over backwards to think he might be right. The same point was with the suicide, not to say all who commit suicide are bad, but in the way he did it was again a proof that his side wasn’t arguable.
    It happens to be that while of course all have yetzar haras and anyone can fall, and we don’t know what is going within other people, yet it’s often clear the persons religiosity has issues beyond their ill deed of being a predator or other schemes. Looking back, you see it wasn’t just this that was the issue but they were perfectly frum everywhere else. The Torah protects a person, it doesn’t make a person lose free choice or get a great middos automatic upgrade.

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  32. Rabbi Slifkin I am glad that you were able to express your opinion on the current situation. I am rather surprised that such an intelligent individual like yourself would use the Chaim Walder case to disgrace another Jew. In general you are respectful about commenting about other people. However under all circumstances you must stop belittling Rabbi Moshe Meiselman. For your own respect do not allow your ego to disgrace one of the greatest Torah Scholars of our time.

    ReplyDelete

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