Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Charging Up To $1800 Per Seat, and $100,000 for a Suite, At An Upcoming Orthodox Jewish Gathering Is Not Rooted in Jewish Tradition, Reeks of Hypocrisy, Lacks Jewish Values, is Not Just--- and Smacks of Christian Events!

Toward a Just Religious Leadership

Rabbi Marc D. Angel

"And you shall not take a bribe; for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous."

The Torah demands as high a level of justice as is humanly possible. It calls upon judges to be fair--not to tilt away from justice due to favoritism or external pressures. Our commentators note that right after instructing judges to be honest, the Torah forbids idolatrous acts. They conclude: the sin of perversion of justice is equated to the sin of idolatry.  When a society has corrupt judges, the entire social system is undermined--materially and spiritually. God's name is profaned.

The Torah knows that bribery will lead to overt or subconscious influence on the judge. Judicial independence is compromised. But bribery can take different forms. It need not be simply a cash payment to the judge.

A judge might be "bribed" by the desire to gain popularity among various constituents; or to advance professionally; or to do that which is "politically correct" rather than that which is right and true. All sorts of external pressures may be brought to bear by one party or the other--or both.  

What if we felt we could not trust the impartiality and fairness of our judges, our rabbis, our religious authorities? What if we thought that their decisions were tainted by external pressures,  by their desire to conform to the opinions of an "in-crowd" rather than to stand up for truth in its purity? What if we came to think that religious leadership--whether in Israel or the diaspora--was unduly influenced by political and financial considerations, and that they no longer have the courage to withstand the "bribes"?  What if we concluded that many of their decisions were not rooted in justice and compassion, but were dictated by the pressures on them not to appear less "religious" than the most stringent of rabbinic decisors?

If people come to think that the religious establishment is corrupt and is susceptible to undue external influence, then the foundations of religious life are seriously eroded. If religious leaders sell out their independence in the desire to curry favor with this or that religious "in-group"--then Judaism and the Jewish people suffer the consequences.

I often remember a conversation I had with Rabbi Haim David Halevy, of blessed memory, in 1984. He served for many years as Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and was one of the most prolific and brilliant rabbinic authors of his generation. Because of his incredible strength of character, Rabbi Halevy was not willing to play politics, or to compromise his halakhic independence. He sought Truth. He tried to judge clearly, fairly, independently.  Because of his independent views, he often felt isolated in rabbinic circles. He lamented the tendency toward conformity and authoritarianism, recognizing that this tendency served to suppress independent and honest judgment.  There was a "thought police" that blackballed those who did not conform to the rulings and views of a certain clique of right-wing rabbis.  

The Torah commands judges to be just. But it also commands the community to ensure that it appoints judges who have integrity.  Ultimately, the community bears responsibility for the religious leadership that it has. If the community tolerates an unjust system then the community as a whole shares in the responsibility for the corruption of justice and religion.

If we want judges/rabbis/religious leaders who are just and good, independent and courageous--then we need to appoint such people to positions of leadership and depose those who do not meet these standards of excellence. We need to be sure that our religious leaders are not susceptible to bribes or external pressures--but that they can devote themselves fairly and honestly to the pursuit of justice and truth.

If we are to have a religious leadership that reaches for the ideals espoused by the Torah, we need a religious community that insists on implementing these ideals. 

 Closing our eyes to the problems we face is not a viable option.



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Fred E. said...

I love how they always use the same cheap, meaningless New York adjectives to describe their overpriced crap. Whether it's Pesach or summer bungalow colonies or kosher cruises.... it's always the same adjectives....

"Executive Level"
"Fully Catered"
"Tea Rooms"

Garnel Ironheart said...

One wonders: having learned all of Shas, certainly one has noticed all the exhortations to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. Would someone who learned through Shas and took its contents to heart not this it better to donate the $1800 to the local food bank instead of buying a ticket?

Mr. Cohen said...

Dear Unorthodox Jew,

Thank you for showing us the Simcha Guidelines that appeared in Jewish Observer magazine in the 1990s.

Maybe I am wrong about this, but in my humble opinion, those Simcha Guidelines were one of the best ideas that the Gedolim ever had, and that they were accepted by so few and forgotten is a tragedy for Jews.

I humbly suggest that you have an entire blog article dedicated to those Simcha Guidelines, which will include a complete written transcript of the Simcha Guidelines.

You can then compare the Simcha Guidelines to the decree of Rabban Gamliel, when he successfully combated the high cost of Jewish funerals.

Mr. Cohen

PS: If you want the truth about Israel
and the Middle East, then visit: www.jns.org

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Mr. Cohen:

Wishful thinking about those Guidelines. Every single one on that list of signatories --- EVERY ONE --- Never missed a simcha where their benefactors threw the party!

Professor Ryesky said...

UOJ: Come on, give those rabbis the benefit of the doubt!

"We the rabbinical signatories- barring familial obligations – and unusual and extraordinary circumstances – will not participate in or attend a wedding celebration that disregards these guidelines."

It can only be that ALL 21 of those rabbis had lots of "unusual and extraordinary circumstances" and were all compelled, at gunpoint, to attend those Sumptuous, Lavish, Luxurious, Spacious, Executive Level, Unmatched, VIP, Ultimate, Upscale, Fully Catered, Luxury, Glatt, Fabulous, Breathtaking, Premier, Extraordinary, Tea Rooms, Scrumptious, Elegant, Delectable, and Deluxe weddings!

Anonymous said...

Just saw The Who in concert: money well spent.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Perhaps the problem with the guidelines is that they're too long.
Here's my recommended guideline - for every dollar you spend on your simcha, you will spend an additional dollar supporting a tzedakah for the poor and needy in your community.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Yeah...Tell your kid to never drink alcohol while you're drunk at your Kiddush Club.

Malach HaMooovies said...

While I FULLY agree with your point here I do presume that the companies that drop $100K for the full experience are alkso the ones that sponsor many many tzedaka events and give MORE than their fair share to numerous Mosdos, tomchie shabbat and others.
the point here is that the money goes to the Agudah, I assume that if every seat was 425 in the entire stadium and the Agudah lost money on this event and then had to beg people for donations that would anger you as well????

Paul Mendlowitz said...

How is this different than a Billy Graham Crusade? The machers that came up with this idea for their kavod and glory, should foot the entire bill, and sell tickets for $10. All of a sudden, chukas haGoyim means nothing?


Malach HaMooovies said...

i dont condone it but in theory it is a fundraiser....

Paul Mendlowitz said...

In essence separating the Haves from the Have Nots under the guise of promoting Jewish values!No true ben Torah should support this!

JJJ said...


Some Yeshivos Will Not Allow Their Students to go to the Siyum Hashass!

Garnel Ironheart said...

Here's another thought: look at all the adjective - sumptous, luxurious, private suites, etc. How many of the Rabbonim attending this event are on record for condemning Pesach hotels for using the same words?

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Our zeides learned Shas, by candles, wooden benches,on straw mattresses, freezing temperatures, with great mesiras nefesh. No wonder we have nothing to show for this generation of weak minded bnei yeshiva.

Brisker said...

The Agudah have lost their compass because they are busy FRESSING every culinary delight imaginable at the convention, the annual dinner, the 5 Towns annual brunch & even the siyum (MC'ed by the Marmorosher / Kerestirer petty thief & NOYEF! Elly K)

So they miss the point in America unless a lonely voice posts it on a blog:

"Our zeides learned Shas, by candles, wooden benches,on straw mattresses, freezing temperatures, with great mesiras nefesh."

Vos far a SHANDA!

Monsey said...

The Agudah Fresser types have become so in gantzen fake that you don't even have to go looking for them in Miami Beach anymore. They have no shame & are breaking down barriers to no longer hide their decadent, G-d forsaken lifestyles.

Take Yeshiva of Spring Valley ...

Wow have things gone down the slippery slope since the day they slapped the mishpocho of R' Shraga Feivel ztl in the face while they were goizel the moissad.

Between fressing, and like pathetic sycophants, kissing the derrieres of Sruly Orzel & the corrupt, greedy gangster developers that cause 99% of the Rockland anti-Semitism, let's examine where they are really up to.

The schools daughters, even in the upper grades, are prancing around Airmont, Pomona, Wesley Hills & even 'yeshivishe' Forshay, in attire not becoming of Bnos Yisroel, exposing ervah on their arms & legs.

When there is a project to write an essay to join with a visual display, do you think these YSV "mechanchim" & the parents are encouraging to do it on Rebbi Akiva Eiger? No! You see projects going on display on such lovely topics as Negro baseball players. Actually there was one girl who did her project on an adam gadol but that was the girl who was physically beaten for an entire year by an obese brat twice her height & twice her width until the school stopped it. But they didn't stop the other bullying that continued for years because the obese brat's father gives money to YSV & to the shul of someone on the hanhala. Even when the obese brat along with a girl from one of the wealthiest mishpochos in Monsey engaged in public striptease on the bus & molestation of a girl's private parts, the whole thing was covered up. Just for stripping alone a much younger girl (who wasn't wealthy) was expelled in a previous year.

YSV are also the biggest achzorim in town who have plenty of room to take the many kids with no yeshiva but refuse to lift a finger to help.

And then people wonder how a gornisht like Naftuli Monster can so easily whip up NY State officials to plot gezeiros against yeshivos. Before the YSV hypocrites like Frankel send out sanctimonious letters begging the oylam to campaign against State oversight, they should take a long hard look in the mirror at themselves as more than likely being the source of the Divine displeasure.

Yeshiva of Deranged Valley said...

How did that flaky but nasty Fraidy Jakubovics from the BT community outside Kiryas Yoel ever become part of the YSV hanhala? She is on an abuse of power trip while relishing her position like an immature child. Sitting at the entrance in the mornings like the Secret Police to get mishpochos in trouble for the inept East Ramapo bus drivers bringing the kids late to school is just the tip of the iceberg with her. She should have stayed in her family's businesses, either as ball girl for the Columbia University basketball team where her father played, or cleaning out Flatbush toilets with her sewer service father in law.