Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Friday, 23 April 2010

No Remose = No Mercy

(Hat tip: Failed Messiah)

The Rubashkins sage continues to putter along south of the border in America.  The latest development is the request by the prosecution for life in prison for Sholom Rubashkin as a result of his conviction for multiple crimes.  Naturally the response from his defenders has been predictable.  It's an outrage!  It's not like he killed someone!  Other people who have done similar things have gotten far less time in jail!  It's anti-Semitism!
Something many people don't do, or don't do often enough, is reflect on how their actions affect other's perceptions of them.  If they did a lot of bad behaviour might be avoided.
In the Rubashkin case this is obvious.  As FailedMessiah exhaustively documents, the Rubashkins have, all along the way, not only failed to show remorse but have continued to allege that the state's entire prosecution is really an anti-Semitic witch hunt.  With such an incorrigible attitude, is it any wonder an exasperated court system is throwing the book at them?
There is a time-honoured tendency in the frum community to circle the wagons when an external threat appears.  For centuries this behaviour was not maladaptive but necessary for survival from such things as pogroms and blood libels.  However, times and countries have changed.  Not every attack on a Jew is because the person is a Jew.  A failure to differentiate between the two types of attacks can only harm our interactions with the outside world.


David said...

I endorse, without reservation, every single word of this post!

Shalmo said...

You do realize Garnel everything you just said about the word "antisemetism" in this post, applies just as much to Israeli apartheid apologetics as it does to Rubashkin apologetics.

Accusations of antisemetism are used by modern Jewry on pretty much any and everyone they don't like, and it about time we grew out of it.

David said...


Israeli apartheid? Huh? I'm not tracking with you here...

SJ said...

Martin Luther King said that antizionism is antisemitism.

Devorah said...

The man will be going to jail. No one is questioning that will happen. What you fail to understand in the difference between remorse over crimes and understandable questioning over the motives behind the sentencing.

Does Rubashkin feel remorse? Possibly. Would that remorse exhibited in court translate into feelings of pity for the defendant? Probably not. Furthermore, your appointed place is not watchman over Rubashkin's soul. Your responsibility as a Jew is to acknowledge that the man isn't a threat to mankind, he did wrong, and that you should push his sentencers for the minimum sentence, because it's your obligation to show remorse and mercy.

I feel that in this case, people absolve themselves of guilt over refusing to act or petition on his behalf by proclaiming that he deserves what he's about to get. People did the same for those boys who smuggled drugs, until one of those boys came back from Japan and told his story. Suddenly, it was a tragedy, but only after countless other people managed to bring him back to Israel through their efforts. It's an easy way to alleviate responsibility for a fellow Jew.

You're also extremely naive, believing that if only every single Jew behaved utterly perfectly in the eyes of the world, would the world finally respect the Jew.

Nishma said...

Devorah,one's obligation al pi Torah is to follow the ratzon Hashem as transmitted throught the halachic process. This often does not result in clear, black-and-white conclusions but rather a thoughtful determination based on the facts as to what is the most correct action to undertake. I am really not familiar with the Rubashkin case but to assume that one's obligation is simply to show mercy is a gross simplification of what is necessary. It may actually be -- and I am not saying this is the case here as, again, I really don't know all the facts and the details (and am not even party to all the info I would need to truly make a correct evaluation of the facts) -- that a chilul Hashem will be the result if Jews are seen as demanding mercy for one of their own even though the person is not deserving this mercy from the consensus of the population. Again, maybe there are times for that position but, again, there are times when there are not.

Now maybe you could argue that Garnel here also over stated his position and also presented his view in a non-balanced way. Nonetheless, the proper response is a call for greater investigation and thought rather than a simple call for mercy.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Anonymous said...

We should do what we can to keep his sentence from being unfairly long in view of the actual offenses.

Regardless of his attitude.