The ongoing ramblings of the Leader of the Living and his thoughts on Judaism, Israel and politics today.
Contact me at GARNELIRONHEART@OUTLOOK.COM
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Friday, 18 March 2011
No Honour Amongst Rabbonim
Elior Chen is an evil man. He is a manipulative child abuse responsible for repeated episodes of suffering, misery and life-long damage. Thesecular justice systemdid what thehalachicsystem in Israel would not and punished him for his horrible deeds. He is going to jail for a long time and good riddance. In a way, Rav Yaakov Menken'srecent pieceon this toad of a man is refreshing. Instead of the usual Shafranesque approach at Cross Currents in which the misdeeds of a Chareidi criminal are either denied or minimized, Rav Menken does neither. He fully admits the terrible things that Chen did but then reaches a suprised conclusion: Elior Chen isn't Chareidi so therefore the newspapers that call him that are actually falsely picking on him and his brethren! In what must surely qualify as the dumbest stuff that Menken has ever written, he completely redefines what being Chareidi is in such a way as to disqualify Chen from membership: What motivates this posting is the headline in HaAretz: “Haredi ‘Rabbi’ Elior Chen sentenced …” Haredi? Because he has a black yarmulke and a long beard? By what logic does HaAretz put quotation marks around the word “Rabbi” (other news reports call him “self-ordained”) while declaring him to be truly “Haredi”? Chen was not connected to any Charedi leader or to the fabric of Charedi life, despite living in a charedi settlement. Basically, he’s Charedi like Sun Myung Moon is “Christian,” but no one would write the headline that “Christian ‘Reverend’ Sun Myung Moon …” did anything at all. Similarly, no one referred to “Reform Rabbi Fred Neulander” when he hired two hit men to murder his wife in 1994. Articles only called his congregation Reform, if at all, as was appropriate. Where to begin? Where to begin? "Because he has a black yarmulke and a long beard?" Well add to that a pale complexion and long curly peyos and yes, Rav Menken, you are exactly describing the uniform that the Chareidi world subscribes to. Let's be honest: a man could sit and learn 20 hours a day, subscribe to multiplechumros, speak in perfect Yeshivish but if he showed up in your yeshiva in a blue shirt and casual pants topped off by a knittedkippah, he'd never be considered Chareidi. Sorry, it just wouldn't happen. Membership in the Chareidi community starts (and too often stops) at the clothing and external appearance of the person, nothing deeper. "Chen was not connected to any Chareidi leader" Really? And the letters written on his behalf by Menken's beloved "Gedolim" attesting to his status as atzadikand insisting on his innocence? Ignored or downplayed in the comments section of Menken's post. Why let the truth inconvenience historical revision, after all? Chen lived in a Chareidi neighbourhood, worked exclusively within the Chareidi community and used Chareidi-type logic to commit his misdeeds. Only a purposefully blind fool would consider stating that he had no connection to Chareidism. One might further ask: what is Rav Menken's opinion of rioting Neturei Karta or of the Satmar Rebbe who said that the boys murdered at Mercaz Harav a few years ago had it coming to them because they were Zionist? Would he say that these folks are not real Chareidim either? Finally there is his analogy to Fred Neulander which is obviously preposterous. Neulander may have been a Reform rabbi but his crimes were carried out not in consonance with his position but despite it. In contrast, Chen used his position as a rav and spiritual leader within the Chareidi communty to commit his crimes. There is no comparison between the two. They say there is no honour amongst thieves. Apparently this applies to Chareidi rabbobnim as well.