Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Who'd You Rather Have Dinner With

Following up on my last post, I would like to bring up another important point, one I think is always lost when we start screaming "heresy" and the like.
Let's compare two people who have been in the news lately that occupy the opposite ends of the Orthodox spectrum.  The first is Rabbi Zev Farber.  The second is Avraham Mondrowitz.
Now for those who don't know Mondrowitz is a serial pedophile and child rapist who victimized multiple boys in both the Jewish and Italian communities he lived in.  Naturally it was the Italians who attempted to bring him to justice while his Jewish community did everything it could to run cover for him and eventually get him to Israel where he has escaped extradition with the reported help of the Gerer Rebbe himself.
Now, let's run that comparison.  Rabbi Farber doesn't believe in Torah MiSinai.  Despite a lack of any archeological evidence to contradict its occuring and some to support it, Yetzias Mitzrayim and the greatest event in human history are just mythology for him.  This drops him out of Orthodoxy as far as many are concerned.  Heck, I'll go further.  I'll bet you he thinks evolution is real and the world is billions of years old.
In his personal behaviour Rabbi Farber is exemplary.  He's a scholar, polite and cultured and treated his colleagues and laymen with decency and honesty.  If he's every touched a young boy it's probably been to prevent the child from running out into traffic.  If he's ever touched a woman other than his mother and daughters he has probably done everything he can to banish lawd thoughts about the encounter from his mind.
Mondrowitz, on the other hand, definitely believes in every word of the Torah at its most literal level.  He probably also accepts all Midrashing as literal historical fact.  He surely thinks that the world is only 5773 years old and that the dinosaurs are a stunt put there by secularists to deny the Torah.  His tefillin, both Rabbi and Rabbeinu Tam, are perfectly kosher and the only part of him that would ever touch a woman is the spittle in his mouth.
He's also a child molester.  He's walking proof that an intense Torah education and lifestyle is not incompatible with base immorality.  Need I add anything to that?
So on one hand you have Rabbi Farber who doesn't believe the right thing but acts quite Jewish when it comes to the overarching goals of making the world a kinder and more decent place.  On the other you have Mondrowitz who believes in all the right things but is a menuval min menuval l'mehadrin
Is it just about beliefs and not about actions?  Yes, the best path is to have the correct beliefs and act in the correct fashion but given the choice of just one, should we be obsessing over a decent guy whose basic metafacts about Creation are wrong or over the people who think that enabling and protecting a monster are fulfilling the ratzon HaShem?
In short, if you were looking to have a good Jewish dinner, who'd you rather eat with?


Atheodox Jew said...

I can't imagine this would even be a shyla for any of your readers, nor should it be for any decent human being.

Did R. Farber really say explicitly that he doesn't believe in Torah mi-Sinai or yetziyat Mitzrayim? At any rate, as you know from my perspective, there's a *world* of difference between evidence for historical events and evidence for supernatural events.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Garnel.
As the British say "You got it in one."
Regards, Dave.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

And who is to say that Mondrowitz actually believes in Torah miSinai? Maybe he is just good at keeping the lie? Take a look at the movie "A Price Above Rubies" about playing by the rules publicly so that the community does come down on you.

But, of course, this doesn't relinquish the community of its responsibility. The fact is that Mondrowitz's community was supportive as long as he portrayed himself as playing by the rules. They would have thrown R. Farber under the bus, regardless of his personal behaviour, because he was not. In their defense, they would argue that the greater problem was that RZF was portraying himself as Orthodox when he was really not. Mondrowitz, though, could simply be defined as a choteh but still frum because he publicly did all the 'ritual' things. Time to connect action to theology in the necessary assorted ways.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Anonymous said...

Lot of typos.

Michael said...

Actually Dov Bear just posted a related question on Facebook. He wrote:

"Zev Farber has now been kicked out of Orthodox Judaism by Yitzchak Blau. (who, like Avrohom Gordimer who also expelled R. Farber from Orthodoxy, has, um, no actual power to excommunicate)

That makes two famous rabbis who have publicly posted that Farber's views are not "compatible with Orthodoxy." Great. Now, practically what does that mean? I'd still let my kids marry his kids. I'd still eat at his house. I'd still count him in a minyan. Wouldn't you?"

At least one yutz, a blogger himself, actually said "I would not eat at his house nor drink wine that he touched." I assure you this same person would have no problem eating in Mondrowitz's house or drinking his wine.

If this is representative of "Torah" Judaism, count me in Rabbi Faber's camp.