TUVYA IS CHAIM NEUHOFF
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DAAS TORAH WEIGHS IN ON RABBI YISROEL BELSKY
It has recently come to light that the anti-UOJ Blog known as Tuvya is endorsed and encouraged by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky. The rationale for the endorsement is that UOJ is Mevazeh Gedolim and is, therefore, worthy of scorn and contempt. Just for the record, I have made it clear that I do not endorse UOJ’s conduct in that regard and have publicly exhorted him to do Teshuvah. Not only because it is required Halachically but because it will strengthen the campaign and remove an unnecessary distraction.
Notwithstanding the above, I believe Rabbi Yisroel Belsky’s conduct in this entire affair needs to be carefully examined.
By way of preface, the Chazon Ish writes that when it comes to examining the conduct of Gedolei Yisroel there is no Issur of Loshon Horoh. The Chazon Ish explains that when it comes to Gedolei Yisroel, Klal Yisroel needs its Gedolim just like an ordinary individual might need a plumber or a tailor. Just like Lashon Harah is Muttar Litoleles when discussing a tradesman so too it is Muttar when examining the conduct of Gedolim. In other words, if somebody otherwise reputed to be a Gadol is behaving inappropriately, Klal Yisroel has a need to know since it affects his status as a Gadol and thus how the Klal should treat him. There is certainly no shortage of examples of people who one part of Klal Yisroel revered as a Gadol whereas others did not and were not shy in stating that. Such conduct is not only permitted but required, since the failure to advise that someone is not considered a Gadol will inevitably result in people following his erroneous path.
As far as the standard by which we are supposed to judge our Gedolim and Rabbeim, this is set forth in the well known Halacha with respect to a Rav She-eino Hugoon (A Rabbi who is deemed unfit and one is not permitted to learn Torah from him), Im Harav Domeh Limalach Hashem Tzevakos Tivakshoo Toirah Mipeehoo V’im Lav Al Tivakshoo Toirah Mepeehoo. (If the Rabbi is similar to an angel seek Torah from him but if not do not seek Torah from him.) The analogy of a Malach (angel) is explained that a Malach can also be defined as a Shaliach (messenger). A true messenger has no agenda other than fulfilling the mission of his master. If it appears however, that a Rav is pursuing an agenda other than the will of Hashem, be it personal or otherwise, he is considered a Rav She-eino Hugoon and is disqualified from teaching Torah.
Rabbi Belsky is a personal friend of Yehuda Kolko and has been for forty years.
Rabbi Belsky was the Rav in Camp Agudah during Kolko’s tenure there. It is inconceivable that Rabbi Belsky was unaware of the numerous complaints lodged against Kolko during that period. In matter of fact we are aware that other rabbonim are prepared to testify when an action will be brought against Rabbi Belsky in bais din and or in secular court, that they are aware that Rabbi Belsky was informed numerous times that Kolko was molesting children.
Rabbi Belsky was present, although not as a Dayan, during testimony before a Bais Din panel in 1985 against Kolko, and heard the horrific testimony of numerous witnesses recounting how Kolko sexually abused children, all the while protesting that he was unaware of Kolko's behavior. Yet he chose to protect his friend Kolko and participated in the covering up of the many accusations made against Kolko and Margulies resulting in another 20 years of continued slaughter of innocent children.
Rabbi Belsky was present, although not as a Dayan, during testimony before a Bais Din panel in 1985 against Lipa Brenner, and heard the horrific testimony of numerous witnesses. Yet he chose to protect his friend Brenner and actively cover up the abuse of children in our community. When a devastated parent came crying to him several years later and informed Rabbi Belsky that his son was being molested by Brenner, Rabbi Belsky informed the parent in no uncertain terms that the boy was lying and that Brenner was innocent. After the parent was advised by friends to ignore Rabbi Belsky and to go to the police, a sting operation successfully caught Lipa Brenner. Lipa Brenner was charged with 14 counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. The sexual contact was alleged to have been committed over a three-year period until October 1995 (over 10 years after Rabbi Belsky protected this pedophile from prosecution in 1985.) Brenner agreed to plead guilty to one count of sodomy in the third degree, a Class E felony, in exchange for a sentence of five years' probation. Lipa Brenner is now a registered sex offender. Had Rabbi Belsky prevailed, Brenner would still be destroying children’s lives to this very day. Had Belsky not interfered in 1985, numerous children would have been spared a fate worse than death.
In February 2006, Rabbi Belsky sent a Hazmanah to Eli Greenwald for being Motzee Shem Ra on Kolko. When Eli immediately responded in writing that he would appear for a Din Torah before the RCA Bais Din, Rabbi Belsky abruptly dropped the matter.
Rabbi Belsky directed and encouraged the anti-UOJ blog to harass and abuse individuals involved in the campaign against Kolko.
In truth the facts above go way beyond the issue of Rav She-eino Hogun. There is a much more fundamental problem here. The Siman Moovhuk of a Yid is Rachmanim Baishonim and Gomlei Chasodim. When a Jewish child tells horrifying molestation stories how can anybody with a Jewish heart not have Rachmonis on those Kinderlach? How can anybody with a Jewish soul not seek to protect future Jewish children from becoming victims Rachmunu Litzlan?
Rabbi Belsky’s conduct on the issue of child molestation is clearly not based on Halachic considerations. Any Rov who dares state that Halacha condones or protects Kolko or any other molester is nothing less than a Megaleh Ponim BaTorah Shelo Cihalacha Vuluv Neemar Ki Dvar Hashem Buzuh Umitzvusoi Haifar (One who perverts the Torah against Halacha, and upon whom it is said he has abused the name of Hashem and violated his commandments.) There is no greater Chillul Hashem than a Rov perverting Halacha to defend these evil doers. Chas Vesholom to say or even think such a thing.
Rabbi Belsky’s Negius in this situation should have caused him to recuse himself a long time ago as the Halacha requires of a Nogai Bidavar. His Negius has completely clouded his judgment and has caused him to do and say things that are against Halacha, against basic Mentschlichkeit and human decency and against everything that Yiddishkeit holds dear. Rabbi Belsky’s rulings and pronouncements on this matter are null and void, Botul Umevutal K’afra D’arah.
Those who rely on Rabbi Belsky’s rulings on this issue do so at their own peril. As Rav Chaim Brisker said “Nebach an Apikoirus is oich an Apoikurus”
Blindly following perverted manufactured Halacha is not a valid excuse. The Toirah never tells a Yid to stop thinking and as evidenced by many Mitzvos requiring a Yid to have Emunah and the like. Surely we have to listen to Gedoilim and Daas Toirah. Real Gedoilim and real Daas Toirah. Just as surely, the Toirah requires and expects us to be able to tell the difference between those that are real yirei Hashem and those that are not. Rabbi Belsky's conduct in this affair is painfully obvious. He has lost the right to be considered a Rav Umoraah Horoah B'Yisroel.