Sunday, November 15, 2009

O [where are] U?

The News about Rubashkin obviously hit very hard. Just a bit harder in Lubavitch than elsewhere. That's not to say that most other Jews weren't shocked and pained by it. Although the mah yofis'nikkes were having a party... The idea that bank fraud can put a man away for possibly the rest of his life while mass murderers - think 9-11 detainees - may walk free and have Government appointed lawyers and advocacy groups, speaks volumes about the situation in these United States today - as far as frum Jews are concerned. Even some people who I thought had a gefiel for another Yid shocked me with recent comments, where they all of a sudden have a new respect in the "law." They see no problem with the fact that he may never see his kids again outside the prison walls.The only limud zechus you can have on such people is that their own lives are so miserable that they look desperately to kick the proverbial horse while down, no matter who he is and how long he must suffer.

To their credit - despite having terminated their relationship some years ago - the KAJ's Rav HaMachshir (and Rov of the Gerrer shtiebel in Flatbush) Rav Chaim Cohen did come and testify last week on behalf of Sholem Mordche. The big chachomim here will immediately respond with "a lot of good it did him," but that's totally beside the point. The point is showing solidarity. Your concern is not to make cheshbones of how much good it'll do. Kudos to Reb Chaim for that. We can ask where Rav Weissmandl was, and that would be a valid question, but we can agree that he's basically small potatoes, doesn't speak the language very well, and would not be a great help. But the big question is WHERE WAS THE ORTHODOX UNION IN ALL OF THIS? WHY WERE THEY NOWHERE TO BE FOUND? Why was it OK for them to profit from Rubashkin all this time - despite pressure from the MO/Conservadox community to remove the Hekhsher - yet not have one nice word to say about him when he needed it most?!

In order to beat you all to the punch I'll come out now and say that Lubavitch's voice could be much louder. Somebody mentioned that at the Kinus tonight there could've been more than just a quick shout-out before bentshen, especially since shluchim were do often beneficiaries of his kindness. I can see where you don't want to bring a sad story like this into your shining moment, but still. He's one of "yours" and is about to be the recipient of some major jail time G-d forbid, if you won't stick your neck out when it's uncomfortable, why would you expect groups that are prejudiced towards him to go beyond the zero that they've done until now?! Other so-called advocacy groups who say that they work so hard for you - (kri Agudas Yisroel) - are also deathly silent. I guess they can't see past the Lubavitch thing with him. Unless it's all behind the scenes with them, not wanting the publicity of course... Throw VIN into that mix too; he made sure to print the letter from the Hekhsher Tzedek buffoon as soon as he could put it together, almost as if he was working for VIN... He'll get his viewers any way he can, all under the supervision of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and Rabbeinu Artscroll, the purveyors of true Daas Teyreh...

Just when we thought that Jews were coming around, that they finally realized what's important for us as a nation, reality hits. You see the archaic opinions, the petty infighting, and very often they come from the enlightened ones, the "dina demalchusa" crowd, the same ones that thought Casper Weinberger was the reincarnation of Hitler when he locked up Pollard all of a sudden have full faith in Sioux Falls' most loyal civic servants. What does this tell us about our future generations, about the upcoming crop of "leaders?" It's times like these that you realize that this is not what the eibishter wants, that you're not fighting daas teyreh c"v when you speak up about these issues, but rather, you're fighting G-d's fight, you're the little guy speaking up for the big guy in the sky himself. That's what separates me from the heretics in the blogosphere, despite the fact that we often go after the same cast of characters. The heretics go after the "leaders" because they see them as part of what G-d wants, with me and some others it's the opposite. We see them as impostors, having no relation to G-d or his commandments, and we want them to stop claiming to represent the Torah way of life.


sruli said...

Great post. At least someone cares. Agudah, OU you have proven your irrelevance.

Chabad Kinus you have proven your PR skills.

You all suck

Anonymous said...

And where the hell is Satmar?

Anonymous said...

Boy does Agudah look stupid. While the Holzbergs HYD were being murdered last year, they were eating cholent and beer.

This year, while Sholom sits in cold isolation, they will be ingesting cappucinos and solving problems.

Useless, completely useless.

Lucky Wolf said...

I was also bothered that so little mention of this was made during the kinnus and banquet.

True there was mention here and there, and by the banquet as well Rabbi Kotlorsky gave a brocha/lechaim at the end. But i wanted to hear some outrage some strong words some hachlotos.

I'm assuming they feel that it may be considered by some as controversial or political.
But who said sticking up for one of our own, a brother, someone who faught for Shechita for all of us, someone who supported so many shluchim and built up beautiful yiddisher community of his own, who said that is supposed to be easy?

I should though, mention that i think at the less official events there was more talk about it. Such as, during a farbrenging on shabbos in the kolel Rabbi Moshe Feller was crying terribly about it. And Sunday night in 770 Rabbi Mendy Cohen from Sacramento spoke emotionally about it.

Isaac Balbin said...

I don't know what the situation is in the USA but over here it's at sentencing that the character witness business kicks in and has some effect.

Do you have mandatory minimum sentencing? How free is the judge to exercise discretion?

It would seem the defence team had argued that he didn't understand what he was doing in respect of the financial matters. I don't know how Hashgochos could help prove that point?

On Dina D'Malchuso, clearly if the punishment is much worse than what one would get from Torah law, it is manifestly halachically unjust and all, Chabad or otherwise, should seek to assist in mitigating the sentence.

Are there precedents for non-Jews being found guilty of similar levels of offence? What was their sentence?

Over here you can have consecutive terms in parallel so you effectively sit for one offence. I don't know what your system does.

It's all terribly sad.

Anonymous said...

pinny lipshits and rabbis perlow and crew are running quite a pidyon shvuyim campaign in the sectarian anti chabad yated..... don't forget credit for that. and pinny has editorialized about it many many times too!

I don't buy the madiach so I wouldn't know if the ads are running there as well....

Anonymous said...

I'm told by reliable sources that Agudah sent out fund-raising pidyon shvuyim appeals and the Novominsker was supposedly on call to fly out to give a hechsher to the plea bargain, before SMR decided not to take it.

Rabbi Genack and the OU took huge PR hits to try and help out Rubashkin over the last several years. How about that trip of non-Chabad rabbonim to Postville, where they pronounced Rubashkin clean, just before it got even worse?

Maybe they got tired of being burned? Maybe the trial convinced them that SMR , victim of overzealous prosecution though he might be, is not innocent, and brought this on himself.

What happened to SMR is sad. The decisions he and his enablers have made ever since this broke have been textbook examples of what not to do. Ultimately, he bears responsibility for those decisions, but I fault those who helped him pursue an in your face non-defense until the trial. It can only have made things worse for him.

Those pictures on the Chabad website of him celebrating his release after the initial raid while immigrants and shochtim still sat in jail come to mind.

And then, at trial he offered no compelling reason for acquittal. None. At best, he offered mitigating circumstances. The next trial is likely to be even more embarrassing. Not just for him. For frum Jewry.

Anonymous said...

Anon- Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

The Agudah has done nothing, nor has OU. They have taken no hits.

We arent saying he is innocent, we are saying he is being punished in a insanely disproportionate way and there should be an outcry

Friendly Anonymous said...

The law is terribly unfair. Lubavitch should come out with a campaign to change all these fraud laws.

But the law being what it is, I haven't yet read any defense of Rubashkin saying that he wasn't guilty of breaking these laws.

Anonymous said...

Please write a letter affirming your belief that Sholom Rubashkin is not a flight risk - and why - and offer homes as part of bail. Please include your full address and infor. Additionally, please spread this to as many of your contacts as you can - via email and texting. Send them to or fax to 336-458-2338.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Issac Balbin
I cant prove it for sure, but I heard a other meatpackng firm by the name Swift that was caught with the same immigration kind of crime, and non of the higher echelons were indicted.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw Nat Lewin in the Mishpacha accusing the OU for caving in already to Peta. I believe that when you drink too much Cholov Akum (I dont buy the cholov stam business)ypur mind starts acting like a Goy, and you are left with one mitzva of all the Taryag mitzvahs "Dina Demalchusai"
BTW, all the dina demalchusai halcha have more heterim in halacha then Cholov Akum and Pas Akum

schneur said...

Tzig. I think we have 2 dinim here.
Firstly the law musr take its course. I hope Rubashkin hired the best legal talent around. Its sad that he was found guilty of so many charges. So far his legal teams strategy has not worked (shifting the venue, claiming he was in over his head, not negotiating a plea) Now Rubashkin must set up a legal team to take care of the appeals process. Again legal talent is crucial.What happened to Nat lewin ? or Alan Dershowitz ? or the guy in Queens who was involved in the yankel Rosenbaum case ?
Next comes the issue of Pidyon Shvuim , if R. Rubashkin gets convicted and it stands then you are correct . The OU , Aguda and Krinsky's Lubavitch PR machine and their ofices in D.C. should get involved in getting some form of clemency etc.
Presently the OU would look very foolish and full of negios getting involved in the trial process. R. Kohn is not a national org representing hundreds of orthodox congregations. And I am sure thats the reason Lubavitch as a party has also adopted the low profile. The same is true of the Aguda . The OU needs to safeguard the pristine status and good name of Kosher in the US and it can not do this by getting involved in legal proceedings publically. And I may add safeguarding the name of Kosher is ar this time more important than the legal fate of Rubashkin and I stress this --- in a malchus shel Chessed.Given the fact that there was a better than even chance that R. would have been found guilty why would anyone want the good name of kashrus and Orthodoxy tied to this, or are you saying that all of Orthodoxy should take a fall because of R's mistakes and less than proper behavior ? What people and orgs do privately is another matter.Of course you can have taanes to wealthy and influential people why they have not acted people like Sen. Joseph Lieberman and other politiians Chabad has cultivated in the last 30 years.
I know this is going to sound like I am sitting high a horse but the R family ought to reasses their legal team and perhaps get more or better help or different people. When the appeals process is over shdadlanus takes over.
IN the meantime saying Tillim and getting excellent legal talent can help the cause.

yidel said...

"Even some people who I thought had a gefiel for another Yid shocked me with recent comments"

Said by the great "ohev yisroel"

"I didn't hear any pain in his voice"

Said by same "ohev yisroel" (regarding plea of a distraught father who lost his son in a tragedy during sheva brochos)

What gives?
Hint:Second case is not from ana"sh, maybe ,just maybe ahavas yisroel; does not apply?

NonymousG said...

Powerful post. Thank you.

yidel said...

anonymous 8:11
Your post is remarkable in its clarity and truth.I want to add that I heard from reliable sources that the Minkatcher Rebbe travelled down and got a better deal than reported but it was turned down by SMR probably on "advice" of his team.
The defense was one of the most bungling ever seen basically admitting to many of the facts but claiming that he is an unschooled kid and Shea Hecht did not help raise any confidence in the defense team by saying on the radio and everywhere else that a Jew can't get justice in America(?!)I'm sure the judge and justice system was "moved" by that foolishness.
Bottom line is with all the sadness for the SMR and kids and family this was the expected outcome once they were foolish enough to go to trial.
Long before this even went to trial people with understanding were urging a quiet closure of this issue with payment of fines before the whole pandoras box got opened.
Vehr ess vaist a bissel vaist az doos iz neesht der ershteh (oder tzvayteh) mool vuz dee mishpucheh bazicht chad gadyah, vee ess vaist oys hobben zai een zayereh kehilla noch nisht farshtanen az een gevisee veygen iz yoh takkeh amerika andersh veda''l

Anonymous said...

Ich vies nisht oib di viest, az di brider fin Reb Hershel di nie aigentimer fin der shlubrik in Iowa, iz oich geven in Chad Gadye far a sihener viela

I think he was caught missing 1 hoshaina by Kol mel mevasser klapen

Anonymous said...

I do not want Sholom Rubashkin to spend the rest of his life in jail. However, I believe he did commit crimes and that some time in jail would be appropriate, but I could live with probation, an apology, and a stiff financial penalty. However, he should not get off scott free, no way.
A few months ago, many of you were saying what a great man he was, and how this was a blood libel. At least now everyone is at least acknowledging what the defense argued, that Sholom has been a horribly incompetent businessman, not qualified in any way, shape, or form to run a business. His incompetence opened up the can of worms.

CR said...

"His incompetence opened up the can of worms."

Coupled with some serious Azus Metzach on his part and on the part of his associates. Did his legal "dream team" really think that an incompetence defense would fly? Did they truthfully believe that the judge and jury would accept "The dog ate my homework"? If so, there is much wrong with this story and anti-semitism or anti-frumkeit in the American Justice System is not included.

Fire the entire legal counsel for the appeal, they are worthless! And, for the love of all that is wholesome and holy, if a plea bargain is extended, take it (a bit late now but still...).

Anonymous said...

anon. 8:11.
It seems that you are on the Agudah payroll.
You were told by reliable sources that the Agudah send out letters...
When did that happen?
Where did that happen?
To whom did they send out letters?
What letters?

You are dead wrong..

The current leadership of the Agudah is of the opinion that the Agudah must always be on the Goverments side. The Aguda will show the goverment that they, the Agudah, understands the Goverments version of events and the goverments opinions. They will never do anything that might make the Goverment (federal or local)see them as an activist group. Even in cases of Pikuach Nefesh or Yiddishkeit affairs, they will never be on gthe opposite side of the Goverment.

This is the sad fate of todays Agudah.

Anonymous said...

hello? why do you refuse to admit that the most was done by lipshitz?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


I do not refuse to admit it, I just wrote about those that did NOT do.

Reb Pinchus Lipschutz and his extraordinary efforts on behalf of SMR is a testament to a Yid who truly cares

chossid said...

Although I detest lipshitz's hashkofos i must admit i have been stunned by his level of support for SMR, who is not punkt agav a chabadsker but a very proud and prominent one.To tell you the truth for a chabadnik its been very heartwarming to finally see the ahvas yisroel shine througe,even by a sworn chossid of Harav Shach! I actually told my children that althouge we dont agree with much if the yateds hashkofos but we should buy it because its run by a yis with a yidishe hartz,and in my book thats worth more then all the hashkafik diffrences!

Anonymous said...

If chabad can be understood for being silent at a shining moment I can find find many reasons why others choose to do for smr in their own style and resolve but you will highlight the negativesof non chabad

Friendly Anonymous said...

From my (limited) experience with the law, the arguments Rubashkin is making work much better in the early stages of an investigation.

Once multiple levels of life-tenured bureaucrats put in thousands of hours on a case, they don’t want their own performance evaluations to show that they wasted their time. Also, even if an individual of them is personally inclined to drop the charges, there are so many different people and departments working on the case, and so much documentary evidence that can’t just “disappear”, that the coordination required would be impossible.

Perhaps Rubashkin should have hired the OU in the first place to deal with the Government. At this point, I’m not sure how (even) the OU can clean up this mess.

friendly anonymous said...

From the Jewish Week:

"On the blogosphere, many fervently Orthodox Jews were rallying to Rubashkin’s defense — and criticizing Jewish organizations for not doing more to help him. Herschel Tzig, a blogger who describes his “Circus Tent” site’s purpose as providing “a counter opinion to the Chabad bashing that is so prevalent in the blogosphere,” posted a critique of the Orthodox Union for not coming to Rubashkin’s aid, although he did not state what the organizations should have done.
“The idea that bank fraud can put a man away for possibly the rest of his life while mass murders — think 9/11 detainees — may walk free and have Government appointed lawyers and advocacy groups, speaks volumes about the situation in these United States today,” he wrote, adding “WHERE WAS THE ORTHODOX UNION IN ALL OF THIS? WHY WERE THEY NOWHERE TO BE FOUND? Why was it OK for them to profit from Rubashkin all this time, despite pressure from the [Modern Orthodox]/Conservadox community to remove the Hekhsher — yet not have one nice word to say about him when he needed it most?!”