Borough Park, NY – Spinka Rebbe Tells Legal Symposium: ‘We’ve Learned Things the Hard Way’ [videos]


    Attorney Jacob Laufer at the podium Photo Credit: Hershy RubensteinBorough Park, NY – A packed, eclectic audience from all parts of New York was on hand last night for a symposium for the charedi public to discuss the obligation to obey US laws, following the arrests that have unnerved all of US Jewry. In attendance were a number of the figures who had already been released from custody.

    The event was held in Borough Park and the cost were paid for as a merit for the recovery of the avreich from Flatbush, R’ Chaim Dovid ben Leah, and before the speeches got under way, Tehillim were recited in his merit and the merit of all of the Jews currently under arrest.

    The opening speaker at the event was Agudath Israel Executive Vice President R’ Chaim David Zwiebel, who organized the event. He said the verse, “V’asiso es hatov v’hayashar” (“You shall do what is good and just”) refers to obeying the law as well. “It has been a number of years since there has been a need to hold this type of gathering,” he said, “but it was not as pressing and urgent to explain as it is now, after dozens of Jews have been arrested on suspicion of money-laundering and more.”

    R’ Zwiebel noted that before the symposium he paid a visit to the Novominsker Rebbe shlita, who said many figures have become involved in the matter, which has caused terrible chilul Hashem due to the press coverage it has generated. “But the Rebbe told me he always warns his talmidim not to engage in questionable conduct, not because someone is watching, but because HaKadosh Baruch Hu sees. Even those who didn’t get caught go against HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s will. We have gathered here to listen to information from attorneys about what to be wary of, what to do and what not to do.”

    The Spinka Rebbe of Boro Park, who began in Yiddish, spoke intermittently in English as well.

    At first he quoted from the Sefer Chassidim, which says that when a person does a misdeed he must acknowledge what he did, and by admitting it he earns merit, and if the admission caused him embarrassment, then it is considered an atonement sacrifice.

    “There have been tzaddikim who wouldn’t accept in their towns dayanim who would be unable to admit publicly that they had erred,” he said. Addressing the audience in a mournful tone, he said: “Morai verabbosai, let’s talk about this in very clear terms: it is well known what has been happening at our mosdos and yeshivas over the past 16 months. We’ve learned a lot during this period and I feel obligated to tell the public what we’ve been going through. We’ve been leading mosdos in Boro Park for 40 years – a kollel, a yeshiva and a cheider. Out of necessity we allowed ourselves to indulge in illegal acts. As painful as it may be, we must admit we have failed. Things have happened at our mosdos that should not have happened. We must acknowledge this, and make it known publicly, because we’re hoping it does not repeat itself.

    “I’d like to tell you that we’ve learned it’s possible to lead Torah and chessed organizations in accordance with the law. Yes, it is possible. People think it cannot be done, but we’ve learned this the hard way. There are now charedi lawyers and accountants who are experts in this area to ensure everything is run according to the law. When in doubt whether or not something is legal, we cannot make that determination on our own, chas v’sholom. We have to ask a lawyer how to conduct ourselves properly in that situation.”

    The Rebbe, citing tzaddikim, told a parable of a person was lost in the forest and could not find his way out. Suddenly he was overjoyed to see another man appear. He went up to him and asked how to get out. “I don’t know,” the man replied, “but the path I’ve been following so far is not the right one.”

    The Spinka Rebbe told the audience about a new organization founded with the help of prominent askonim. Members include experienced attorneys, accountants and other professionals. “A lot of effort has gone into this matter and the staff can help people set up tzedaka and chessed organizations. Little by little more and more mosdos are joining the program and we’re hoping that in the coming years there will no longer be any organizations that don’t keep proper accounting records.”

    The Rebbe also said the US is a kingdom of chessed, a nation that helps everybody. Our forefathers arrived here after the terrible churbon and they gave us permission to go and take in the refugees. “The Chossom Sofer wrote about the Kaiser Franz Yosef and his government, saying they were Hashem’s agents. The same can be said of the US government. They make sure we have an opportunity to live here with freedom and keep all of the mitzvahs, and we have to follow the law. There is no good deed, mitzvah or even bikkur cholim or hachnasas kalloh that permits violating the law,” he concluded.

    Videos Below from Spinka Rabbi Speech. Video Credit Shiezoli of YouTube

    The next speaker was HaRav Avrohom Shorr, who discussed what the media is saying about the charedi sector. “On the day of Churbon Beis Hamikdosh there was a chilul Hashem and HaKadosh Baruch Hu sent us to live among the nations in order to sanctify the Name of Heaven. Every time there is an instance of chilul Hashem, it’s a continuation of Churbon Beis Hamikdosh,” he said.

    HaRav Shorr went on to discuss the importance of teaching children about chilul Hashem and refuted the common perception that these types of things happen because Jews feel as if they’re living in a ghetto and the police is monitoring them. “It’s just the opposite. It stems from the fact we’re too strong here in America and we’ve gotten comfortable here.”
    Rav Shorr at the podium
    HaRav David Ozeri, the rov of the Syrian-Jewish community, spoke movingly, quoting various halachic sources on the need to obey the law, describing how the great tzaddikim of the generations made stupendous efforts to adhere to the law. He spoke very little about the affair, which caused great suffering in his kehiloh, but he did say everyone is feeling pain and shock over what transpired.

    Atty. Benjamin Braffman, a top lawyer who represents prominent figures, emphasized a number of ethical points. “Over the past two hours since the symposium began I’ve been scanning the audience for some FBI agent in charedi attire. I’m sure there’s at least one here who wants to listen to and analyze exactly what the rabbonim and lawyers are saying. Luckily my grandfather and grandmother spoke Yiddish so I’ve been able to understand every word that’s been said, and I’ll speak in Yiddish, too. If somebody didn’t understand something I say, feel free to come up to me afterwards and I’ll be glad to explain.

    “I come from a charedi family. I have a charedi brother and a charedi son in Jerusalem. I’m the only one who has to spend my day among all sorts of people who earn a whole lot of money, and in the evening I sit among thousands of Chassidim.

    “I’d like to say how impressed I was by the remarks made by the Spinka Rebbe. I’m sure his remarks had an impact and will continue to have an impact on the public and the mosdos, regarding the need to avoid illegal activities. I hope his remarks bring merit to the Rebbe, so that he is able to make it through the legal matter.”

    Later in his talk Atty. Braffman touched on day-to-day affairs. “People don’t learn how to run their day-to-day lives after getting married, when they’ll have to report income. You have to know how to write checks, how to buy a home. When today’s generation grows up we’ll be in a much bigger mess because young people know nothing about how to run their day-to-day lives. You have no idea how careful you have to be to avoid chilul Hashem.

    “I’m an observant Jew, but when the media speaks with me I’m always careful not to present myself as a Jew, but rather as a professional, and I watch every single word that comes out of my mouth, because everybody knows I’m a Jew. Therefore charedi Jews have to be even more careful in their conduct, to avoid causing chilul Hashem. I don’t want to have to make money serving charedi clients.”

    Videos Below from Atty. Braffman. Video Credit Shiezoli of YouTube

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    1. If we went through all of this just for this to happen it would have been worth. Yehudah Atah Yoducha Achecha.
      Sheyibaneh Bais Hamikdash B’miheira Viyameinu. Amen!

    2. What a joke.
      The Spinka Rebbe speaks about admission and acknowledging misdeeds, but fails to admit his mideeds, and his pleading guilty (just last week!) to money laundering.

      Instead he spoke of a new organization organized by “prominent askonim”.

      What a royal hypocrite.

      • Nice to see Vos Iz Neias keeping up its new standards of not letting through nasty comments.

        Rule #1 Absolutely no personal and/or ad hominem attacks against any group or individual.

        And Mr Anonymous didn’t even read the article. The Spinka Rebbe very much did speak about his own misdeeds. Read the end of the 7th paragraph “Out of necessity we allowed ourselves to indulge in illegal acts. As painful as it may be, we must admit we have failed. Things have happened at our mosdos that should not have happened. We must acknowledge this, and make it known publicly, because we’re hoping it does not repeat itself.”

          • Did u listen to his full speech? Its true that he used a few times plural and said we were wrong, which includes himself and maybe sufficient, but if thats not enough for u, he also said during the speech “I”was wrong

          • By “we” he is referring to his organization as well as himself.
            I believe that if you understood yiddish, you probably would not have made that comment, as it is quite common to substitute “we” for “I”.

            • Especially Tzadikim tried to avoid the word “I”. I am told that the Skverrer Rebbe like his father never uses the word “Ich” (I).

              I think very highly of the Spinker Rebbefor his courage in doing what is right; it’s not a small thing.

          • When a person says we it includes himself. Unfortounately there are way to many people doing things illegally. The Spinka Rebbi was not coming just to give a speech about himself, he was giving a speech for a whole group of people thus the we. To me the fact that he did this makes me respect him and realize that he has contemplated what his actions have caused. We all do Aveiros, including myself. We should all do Teshuva, including myself. A good place to start would be not to call a Godol a hypocrite.

          • Thats the way rebbes speak always in plural because of anivus thats the way all big tzaddikim talk. And i think we must applaud the spinka rebbe for having the courage to get up and speak in boro park a place were he is considerd a choshva rebbe

      • shame on you! you know that your wrong. he admitted to everything he did, by coming to this event he admitted all of his wrong doings. thats the sole reason he came and no other rabbonim..

        all you want is a little bit of attention. folks, lets just ignore him, and lets look at the bright, and true side..

        • No. I don;t think #10 should be ignored, or told to feel shame. Surely the Spinka Rov made a tremendous impact by addressing the crowd and saying what he said.

          But reading the article I waited to read that the Rov refered to his crimes in the first person. Greatness comes to those who can admit that they were wrong.

          For a Gadol to stand before a crowd of people to whom he is accountable as a moral leader and spiritual role model, and admit that he was wrong, would have made an unforgettable impact on those in that room, and frum Jews everywhere.

          To speak in vague generalities and third-person references diluted the lesson the Rov had the opportunity to teach.

      • As I read the Rebbe’s words, I saw it differently. I saw him acknowledging quite clearly the situation he & his mosdos got into. I didn’t see him avoiding responsibility at all.

        It’s mamash erev Tisha B’Av. Don’t you think we should all be showing Achdus not pointing fingers?

        • What else should the spinka rebbe do at the symposium he said he err’d , he said he was wrong . I’ve come the conclusion that 50 percent of people posting here are iether from the erev rav or just plain old blatant anti semites….

      • “lo salin pe’ulas sachir halailah”. that would be an issur di’oraysa. Including holding back a goys wages, would be covered under chilul hashem and gezel akum.

    3. to #11 i fail to see hypocrisy.
      he was clear in his words, laws must be kept obeyed etc… he further stated he learned that excusing it is unaccetable, and even further stated that he will guide those who might be tempted to transgress to seek help and advice from professional, so that you wont err.
      and he then went further showing how when we are on track a light unto nations we are mekadesh shem shamayim, he is leading as he is the one who feels the burning obligation.
      what is there to knock him for?

    4. This is so inspiring. I am so impressed by the Rebbe Shlita, who put it in terms we can all understand. As I read the Rebbe’s words, I was struck by a thought, not brilliant, but it makes sense to me: when we have a shaaloh on a chicken we take it to the Rav, rather than chas v’sholom risk doing the wrong thing & treifing up our utensils & worse, our bodies.

      So too must we go to an expert in law or accountancy before, chas v’sholom, we “treife” up our organizations or our own lives. Better to ask advice than eat a treife chicken.

      May this Tisha B’Av become a true Yom Tov & we should see all tsur removed from Klal Yisrael.

    5. Spinka Rebbe is a tzaddik,
      unfortunatly he made a mistake, and is paying the price for it,
      Everybody, even good people can make a mistake ,
      It doesnt negate all his other good deeds,
      he deserves a chance to do tshuva and turn a new page,
      just like many of our politicians in the secular world etc…
      nobody is perfect

    6. I was there he was very sincere. It seemed like he was about to cry his voice was shaky.everyone around me was inspired. Devorim hayoitsim min halev nechnasim…..

    7. Wow. To stand up in a room like that and admit publicly your own misdeeds takes an enormous strength, and he shows why he is who he is.

      They all said out loud what we all know to be true. We see people jump up with fanatical intensity when a gadol says “don’t eat strawberries”. We should jump up and get to work on this just the same. If not, we may as well just eat the bugs too.

    8. There is no necessity to steal for our Heilige Torah. All maaminim know that s’char limud is reimbursed. Is your kol yachol unable to fund mosdos Hatorah? The kb’h of klal yisrael has NO problem funding his kids and our Torah! Do we need consultants to tell us what is legal? Is all this money laundering a judgement error? Or did we hide it because we knew it was criminal? Tell the courts and the prosecuters all about these consultants, but amongst b’nai Torah there is no doubt: we have Choshen Mishpat!

    9. ” Out of necessity we allowed ourselves to indulge in illegal acts”

      Perhaps some focus on what caused this necessity would help avoid future acts of desperation?
      She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu


    10. It says by “erva” “Lo sikrav” and it says by “sheker” “midvar sheker tirchak” which is a much stronger language. The frum world is busy with all kinds of “harchokos” with regard to ever, but unfortunately not are we not “mrachek” from sheker, we are mekarev to sheker!
      Before making a mechitza on the bus, it may be a somewhat more important to make a mechitza between ourselves and sheker when it comes to money,

      • just for info. purposes: lo sikrav has halachic ramifications as does tirchak (Shavuos 30). Your point is good, but your last statement does not have any halachic value.

    11. Every time you hear the cry of “Chillul Hashem” you are listening to the very core of the problem.
      Here’s why: What are children learn from this whole “Chillul Hashem” is that morally you can steal etc. as long as you are confident that you wont be caught. Otherwise there is no moral reason not to steal cheat etc. As long as Chillul Hashem is taught and proffest as the reason not to behave immorally there will be many more stories in the future.
      As strange as it sounds , if your children are taught not to pick their nose in public because it will make a chillul hashem they are being seriously misguided .
      what do think?

        • 1. because it’s not so clear mesirah in the USA is assur. The aruch hashulchan and more contemporary poskim hold azoi!

          2. there was no mesirah in the case of the Spinka Rebbe, he was caught as a gonif directly.

          3. because mesirah is used as an excuse to deflect from the real problem. If you only want to blame the snitch, the real gonif will never take responsibility for their aveirah!

          • “there was no mesirah in the case of the Spinka Rebbe, he was caught as a gonif directly.”

            Check your facts.

            1) a person known as RK was a government informant and did exactly the same same as Dwek.

            2) The rebbe was not ‘caught as a gonif’. He’s accused of aiding & abetting others with tax evasion.

          • Your are wrong.

            First of all:
            The aruch hashulchan does not say that Dwek (CW) or the Moser of the Spinker (RK) did nothing wrong or tat it’s Mutar to be a Mosser against frum Yidden, Chas Vesholom.

            Not reporting income or cashing someones check for that purpose is not Geneva only Menias Horevach, at the most.

            • this is simply sheker. The aruchhashulchan, along with the CRC today, hold that any country whose laws are equal for all people, and do not specifically single out Jews, there is no mesirah. whether individuals pick on jews or not, is irrelevant, the laws in this country are equal for all people. Therefor there is NO issur of mesirah

              what you say is false and shekeer erev tisha b’av!

            • Officially the US doesn’t discriminate but in reality it doesn’t play it’s self out that way.

              There is a famous “vort” that the US constitution claims that it is based on the principals of “All Men Are Created Equal”.

              Sounds good doesn’t it?

              The only problem is that “some are more equal than others” 🙂

              No where is this more true than in distribution of Tax Dollars, where Goyim get a free education (for their taxes) while a Yid has to pay tax and then pay another $150,000 for tuition for his 12 Children or more in Yeshiva.

              Another example of unfairness in law against Yidden:

              If a Yid faces a legal battle, we all know that most often he does not get the same breaks as a Goy, form the very often Antisemitic DA, Antisemitic Judge and certainly no frum yid ever dreams of getting a fair trial by Jury, if the Jury is composed of the typical elements “of known origin”, who have the Chazaka that they are extremely unfriendly to Yidden.

            • 1. you are misinformed. Jews are not taxed twice. we have the same opportunity and right to attend any state sponsored school that we pay taxes for. You choose not to participate in public schools, that’s your choice. there are many programs that your taxes go for that you cannot participate in. just like no single jew can keep ALL 613 mitzvos. it’s part of the package.

              2. The laws are applied equally. If someone abuses the system, that has no bearing on the overall law.

              3. that’s anecdotal at best and reflects a victims mentality and more than likely someone who lost a case and needs to blame someone else. there are no facts to back your claim. There may be some people who are anti-semitic, but there are many more who are not. the system, by it’s own definition cannot be and therefor , what you call mesirah is allowed.

              Quit attempting to deflect responsibility. Your screaming mesirah is a red herring to hide the fact that what were supposed to be frum people were ganivm and machalilei hashem. Mesirah has no bearing on what the others CHOSE to participate in.

            • Sg said:
              “Mesirah has no bearing on what the others CHOSE to participate in”

              You are in violation of what is stated in Pirkey Avos, Al Todin Es Chavercha Ad Shetagia Limkomo.

              This was clear entrapment (even if not to the technicality of the law but in) real life these people were teased. It was a set-up and they were entrapped.

              Did they still have “Bechira”? Yes technically speaking we believe that every yid has Bechira Chofshis not to do an Avera, but there are reasons for the laws of Yichud and Tznius which even a Tzadik has to abide by the laws of Yichud and the reason is because no one ever knows if they would withstand the Nisayon.

              We are Mispalel every day, “Al Tevienu Liyedey Nisayon” for good reason, because the chance of failing at the Nisayon is a very high probability, and that’s what is wrong with entrapment and a set-up.

              It’s one thing if Hashem brings someone to a Nisayan, he has to try his hardest to withstand the Nisayon, but we all know that many will will fail at the test and that;’s why it is forbidden for any Yid to bring any other yid to a test – Lifney Iver Loy Siten Michshol and Al Tadin Es Chavercha Ad Shetagia Limkomo.

              Moshe Rabeinu is bound by the laws of Yichud. Can Moshe Rabeinu or any other Big Tzadik, not be trusted that he will not sin, while secluded alone in the room?

              Torah says no! Because “you just never know” how a person may respond in a moment of weakens (although normally he would never even think of it).

              The Yidden who sinned with the Bnos Midyon, sinned but it was a set-up, and the Torah makes a whole big deal about how horrible that set-up was and does not justify that set-up.

              According to you, if the FBI sent Bnos Midyan to “test the yidden” they are to be commended and the Bnos Midyan were “Noble” for having put the yidden to the test.

              A Mosser sent to make a set-up, by the FBI is 100% identical to those who sent the Bnos Midyan and the Zonah’s who participated.

              A Moser is worse than a Zonah. According to the Torah a Zonah (if not an Eishes Ish) does not deserve the Death Penalty, Mah Shein Kein with a Moser Al Pi Torah.

              Plain and simple:
              If the FBI wanted to entrap you, they could and if Hashem wants to make a Nisayon for you, the it is indeed possible that you will sin. Have you never sinned in your life when hashem made a Nisayon for you?

              Torah says that there is no such thing as any Tzadik who has never sinned in his life. Are you saying that you disagree with Torah?

              Or are you saying that you, Mr. sg, are greater than any Tzadik and every Tzadik sins (on very rare occasion) but not you, Mr. sg?

            • chochom you are missing the point. No one is “judging” them. But there has to be an admission of guilt. There is no “entrapment”. every nisayon is entrapment and no one should be guilty then! If everyone here simply said, look, they were nichshol, and as rabbis should have set better examples for the community and lets learn a lesson to be more nizhar in dinei mamon, that would be the end of the conversation. Instead, apologetics like yourself, insist these “great” people are innocent. No they are not!

              Entrapment isn’t mesirah anyway, it’s called being a machti. the mesirah part is telling on them.

              again, even it was mesirah – which it wasn’t – that’s still no justification for what they did! look at our own history. even if someone is a choteh and a machti, it doesn’t exempt the person who is led astray from Hasems punishment.

            • What he is saying is that if the FBI would entrap you Mr. SG, would you also say the same pshetil? Beruria the wife of Reb Meir thought like you that “noshim daaton kalois” doesn’t apply to her, so Reb Meir wanted to show that the Torah is emes, and we shouldn’t be smart Alics, so he set up an entrapment for her. In this case there was “entrapment” which we shouldn’t tolerate. Where in the constitution does it give the FBI a right to entrap people? The institutions of the FBI and the IRS are probably not constitutional. Someone once wrote a book about this, and I wonder we never heard from him again. Did the FBI and IRS shut him up?

            • according to you logic many of the criminals that are in jail should be released all the mafia and all the gang members and all criminals that only deal within their own kind, always get caught with insiders or plants, since that is the only way to get evidence against them in a society of rules and laws.

              In addition when the court cases will be held you will hear most of the defendants says don’t (hidden tapes) worry I know how to it I have been doing it for years, I know what to do? The where not entrapped they where caught with their pants down. to bad for them.
              according to you, every thief could say, judge, why am I to blame, the guy left his keys in his car it was a Nisayon the owner entrapped me nobody could resist. The judge would say where did you hear such BS and why shouldn’t i throw the book at you. Well sir the rabbis got off this way, and if the holy ones cannot resist temptation how am I to resist.

              The same could be said when the FBI plants someone to bust a drug ring. Judge it not my fault the fbi agent said i could make a lot of money selling the drugs, I could not resist just like the rabbis could not resist laundering money.

              I do not see a difference.

              If the FBI cannot show any reason as to why they suspected these guys where involved in money laundering, and only had these incidence to show, then the law is that it was entrapment. However, if one reads the court papers it seems that these guys where doing it for a very long time and the FBI new it they just needed evidence to convict them. Another words this was not the only time

              Again I ask all the people who apologize for these frum guys when was there a case in the past 20+ years where you said these frum guys are guilty as sin.
              A few would suffice or is it your believe that a frum person is never ever guilty.

              And if the excuse is not good when a goy gets caught this it is not good excuse when a yid get caught this way

            • No one *has* to have 12 children, or send them to an expensive yeshiva. It’s a choice. A choice made because of religious beliefs, yes, but still a choice. You *choose* to not send your children to taxpayer funded schools. Your choice, you pay for it.

          • The issue raised by #25 is very valid and the reply of #26 is a disgrace and a cop-out.

            One can not be a Poseach Al Shtey Haseifim, to dance on two opposite weddings.

            You have to make up your mind what you believe and what you don’t believe and what you agree to and what not, what you condemn and what not.

            This is not a an issue that one can just “look the other way” and “pretend he he didn’t notice”, pretend there is “no issue about it”.

            Make up your mind (I say this to “sg” and to anyone else, who is arrogant enough, to think that whatever he thinks and says, only his opinion is the word of g-d and only his opinion is called “Daas Torah”.

            Face It:
            Is Mesira Mutar or Oser?

            You can’t sweep the issue under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist by ignoring the entire issue and not saying a word about it.

            If you think that Mesira was a good thing and “big mitzavah” to entrap people, precisely as was done this week, then go ahead and take your head out of the sand and say whatever you believe, if you really think that Mesira is the Torah True Way for a Yid to be a Mosser.

            If you think that that according to Torah it is the biggest sin and the most despicable thing, then take you head out of the sand and say that, without shame and without fear.

            We all know what torah says about those on a “High Horse”, giving musar to the entire world, yet are themselves guilty of “Kovshu Pnehem Bekaraka”.

    12. Kol Hakovod to the Spinka Rebbe. I was there last night, not knowing that he was going to speak, and I was shocked when he stood up to speak. He totally admitted what he did and maybe just maybe, this will help stop this problem in our circles.

      At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to publically beg mechilleh from the Spinka Rebbe for anything I may have written badly against him on this board in the past 16 months. He has totally regretted and was modeh u’misvadeh about his wrongdoings and so should we.

      An easy fast to all and may we be zoiche to the geulkeh shleimeh still today.

    13. One quote from Ben Brafman is so important and true, and you left it out. I don’t remember the exact words, but the message was – that if you do any illegal shtick, you are stating very clearly that you have no emunah and do not believe that the RIbon Shel Olam is in control and the One that ultimately gives parnassa.
      How true and well said.
      Bar Kochba said that the RBS”O should just not help our enemies, then we don’t need his help, we win all on or own. That was considered blasphemy.
      Not being ehrlich with parnassa is the very same blasphemy, that eventually leads to major Chilul Hashem r”l

    14. Spinka Rebbe admitted his guilt there. He just still has to be careful for legal purposes. At the end of the day his message was the same. He didn’t get up there and say I was framed, entrapped. He said we failed at keeping the law. What more do you want?

    15. The problem isnt the chillul hashem but chillul itself–even if committed in PRIVATE. Our leaders need to stress the severity of this activity even when the FBI doesn’t find out.

      • Rebbetzin,

        What “severity”?

        In whose book?

        Al Pi Torah it’s a Mitzvah to help another Yid and to help him “cash his check”, if you can, even more so if it will help the other yid with Parnasa.

        That is Al Pi Torah.

        The Goyish Law has another opinion. But that’s their opinion.

        Which Opinion means more to you?

        Of course if a Chilul Hashem could be caused it is to be avoided, but your claim of where no Chilul Hashem is possible, has no Yesod in Torah.

        • The rebbetzin never said that helping another yid is bad, rather that illegal activity is. Helping a yid cash a check, halachikly is assur if it is done through a sinful manner. All of this is discussed in the first perek of the mishna brura (where the chofetz chaim goes into detail about when a person can do something seemingly wrong for a mitzvas sake)

            • even if this case is mesirah, how does that justify the illegal behavior that caused a chilul hashem. why do you insist on trying to make 2 wrongs equal a right?

          • Rabbi Lichtberg,

            You refer to the word “sin”, generically, without differentiating what is considered a sin Al Pi Torah and what is a Sin only according to Secular Law.

            Not everything considered a Sin according to Torah, is also a Sin according to Secular Law and vice versa.

            This is precisely the issue which was not addressed, in the Rebbetzens post nor in your post.

            Vedai Lchakima Beremiza

          • I wanted to do a favor for someone and borrow money from my credit card to give to him. However, he would have to give me the monthly payments plus the interest that the credit card company charges. I was told that this is against the halacha and I must pay the interest ,is this halacha unanimous or are there other opinions ?

      • The Rebbetzen (#43) said: “leaders need to stress the severity of this activity:

        I assume the Rebbetzen means the severity of Mesira, which is far more severe than stealing and far more severe than any other Avera in the Torah and is punishable by Capital Punishment, according to Torah.

    16. This is all nonsense. You don’t need pilpulim or high priced lawyers and accountants to know that kickbacks, money laundering and fooling federal authorities regarding aid programs is dishonest and illegal. This all phooey. I would hope that most of our people that work, are hard working honest people.

      I would have liked someone there to have simply stated that we should be guided by fundamental principles of honesty, humility and simple lifestyle. The rest is pure hot air.
      people are ahrd working

    17. The Spinka rebbe could clear himself and avoid jail time if he would name individuals that were involved “that he was aiding and abetting” He chooses to accept punishment and not reveal any names. He also has one of the largest kollelim in BP with over 200 serious learners. He lives like a pauper. He never took a penny for himself. May he be cleared and have arichas yomin and continue to lead his mosdos.

    18. In US secular law, someone who “informs” to an enemy state (spies) is considered a traitor and US law allows for Capital punishment against a spy who informed on the US to any other country (even if he informed to Israel a friendly country, that which the US knows, about the Arabs, planning to attack Israel).

      Similarly Torah views an “informer” (a Moser) on a Yid, to be a Traitor against his people, (a Rodef) even if he informed to a “friendly FBI”, us government) – Torah says he deserves Capital Punishment.

      Of course, many of us here, don’t agree, but then in that case you don’t agree with Torah.

    19. What a courageous and moving speech. He shows great leadership and sets a new direction. May the ribono shel olam give him koach and syata dishmaya in these difficult times

    20. >“The Chossom Sofer wrote about the Kaiser Franz Yosef and his government,

      The one born in 1830? Or perhaps the Prince of Lichtenstein who died in 1781? Is “Franz Yosef” to be taken as a generic term like “Pharaoh”?

    21. While it may seem courageous of spinka Rebe admitting guilt, he did not address why he felt it a necessity to steal and why now it’s unnecessary.What would have shown courage and regret is after the lawyer diagnosed the problems and solution (lack of English education causing low-end jobs, 100;000 kollel relying on father-in-laws and government handouts and no good jobs and a ghetto mentality), he would have gotten up and said I’ll be the first one to implement it in my yeshiva.What would shown courage and regret .

    22. Finally a breath a fresh air in the frum community! Attorney Braffman hit the nail right on the head. His integrity and sincerity shine brilliantly throughout the entire speech. Its about time we learn to live with the law of the land because we will learn the hard way. Im also glad he rebuked about the gossip madness going on. We behave like the mass media, we hear a story and run with it but we forget that every Jew is your brother! Thank you Ben for voicing so many “pushed under the rug” concerns.

    23. This business about 100,000 people in Kollel is such nonsense. There are maybe 4000 men in kollel in Lakewood. I would guess that in the greater NY area in non chasidishe kollelim there might be another 2 to 3 thousand at most. In the rest of the Usa there might be another 500 to a thousand at most. Total of maybe 7 or 8000. Most chasidishe kollelim in the Us are not long time learners. There might be another 2 or 3000 chasidishe long time kollel men. That’s a total of maybe 10000 in the entire North America. Its a miniscule percentage of the jewish population in North America. Maybe 2 tenth of 1 percent of the entire jewish population of North America. This notion of 100000 or more kollel men is a figment of someones imagination.

      • You are absolutely right. If you don’t count the chasidishe kollelim in which a newly married 19 year old stays only for a year or 2 before getting a job ( essentially just a short term extension of mesivta ) then there are probably less than 10,000 kollel yungeleit in the Us and Canada. People are really ignorant about these numbers.

    24. “Out of necessity we allowed ourselves to indulge in illegal acts.” Out of necessity? That’s nonsense– there was never a necessity for these people to become criminals– their words are very pretty, and the sentiments expressed (if sincere) are admirable. But this is very late in the game to begin teaching people menschlikheit.

      • Was your comment really necessary? It’s not too late for you to also learn a little mentchlichkeit. The Gemora tells us that “hakol lefi hamevayish vehamisbayish”; for a man of his stature to say those words in public on home turf, shows what a great man he is; not the other way. Some here will never be happy until they will have his scalp, and for some this also won’t be enough. IMO, comments like yours has no place here; there are so many anti-Semitic sites out there, who will love to have such comments.

    25. a few things
      for those who compare messira to a spy against the usa that comparison is nonsense.
      If I testify in a french court or any other democratic court against an American who was accused of a crime that is not illegal and there is no crime and nothing at all will be done against me

      The thing is the case of a spy is really the situation what messira is, when you mosser someone to an unfriendly king nation government, not when you mosser someone in a friendly government, even the Rambam says it is mittur if the person was doing something wrong and will bring shame to the community. And he was not even talking about as a friendly government as the USA.
      Those who mentioned that they should not bring up mosser or chilull hasem, 100% correct. The main problem is they what they where doing was wrong. end of story. The idea is that those type of thing are wrong in itself, and should not be done period. If you use the Mossar and chillul hashem as the main reason, then I a young child who listens to this will say I am not going to be as stupid as those rabbis in Jersey, I will do it foolproof. I know it is ok, since my plan is so good I will not be caught, use that money that i [illegally] got give charity and Hashem will accept me with open arms (yes he will to press both levers to go downstairs)

      For those who live in fantasy land and still say they where only cashing checks, if they really where doing that there would be no crime no story.

      Let go over the detail.

      Hello I want you to take may 100,000 check made out to you tax free school, but give me 90,000 cash back. But do not tell anybody that I really only gave 10,000. That is what they did.

      If they would have done it to help the guy, it would be very simple, here is a check for a hundred thousand dollars, and give me back 100,000 that is cashing a check.

      And we are not talking about I really need to feed my family please cash my 500 dollars chack. A 100,000 check to feed his family.

      Call a money launderer a money launderer.

        • believe what you want I do not see why the fbi is crooks, and even (i do not agree 100% neither would the rambam or shichun orach) to use the mosser nonsense what they did was wrong. I do not get what everybody is talking about just because you believe they got caught through a mosser does not make what they did any better.

          Stick to the actions they did right or wrong answer the question.

          II had another example but I will go with this one,The world series was on Shabos between the Mets and Yankee, and the non frum yid or gentle threw me the remote and said come on want to watch the world series just press the remote. And I did.
          (a story to make a point)
          After 120 when I meet the creator he says sorry charlie down you go, remember you turned on the tv to watch the world series. But but, i was entrapped they threw m the remote myself i would not have done it To bad hashem say you did the crime you do the time. I think for a minute, wait, wait one minute, I appeal, you appeal to who, to you. Hasem says, before you say anything think carefully you know I know everything. Counting on it hashem, remember those rabbis in NJ, I am not comparing myself to them of course they were much more holy them me. But I see that they were given a pass by the frum community, and by robbonum and I assume hashem has to obey the laws of the robbonim that said, that they were tempted by the FBI and without the FBI they would not have done it, so it is not a sin. How could hasem expect little old me a stam a yid
          to not be tempted by the remote thrown to me. If not for that I would have not turned on the TV. Wait Hasem I have more, what I did was only a sin against hasem, what they did was a sin against hasem and people.

          I stand there trembling what will he do.

          He looks at me as says, I knew I made a mistake forgiving them, the second i did I knew it will haunt me forever, every wise guy yeshiva boy who did some averas always brings up that story and I always have to forgive them since even Hasjem has to follow his own rulings. And he mumbled, I wish I could turn back the clock. OK upstairs you go.

          OK a little sarcastic but I am trying to make a point

      • So you are saying that the Father of CW, a prominent Rabbi, who is is “morning” (almost Shiva but not quite) over his son Mesira, just agonizing over “nothing” or over the big Mitzvah and Zchus and the Big Olam haba that CW will get for his Mesira.

        And you are encouraging all Yidden to be Mosrim like CW, because it’s such a big zchus to to do such a big Mitzvah?

        Are you that naive?

        You can find 5,000 Taamim to be Metaher the Sheretz of Mesira.

    26. Begging the Question:
      We need those va’adim on proper accounting methods and shiurim on honesty, for sure. But now there are a few questions raised by the solution.I can think of one that is two:
      Now that we’re scrupulously honest, how are we going to find, to raise, the money we need? That’s a continuation, a new facet, of the question of the last year: Now that we’re being squeezed even dryer, how are we going to find, to raise, money and thrive?
      And that 1/2 question may raise one more, which may provide hope:
      In what direction, what way, are we going to build our mosdot, the world of our mosdot, from here on in; so that they will draw people who are willing, even anxious, to give from their lessened supply?
      They’re feeling drained like the rest of us? What do we, what do our mosdot, have that we can show them, give them, so they can see that we and our Torah are pointing in the direction of the solution to what ails them?
      In other words, how are we now going to create even more vibrant institutions?
      If, when we’re being laundered and squeezed, we move in this positive direction, even beyond the issue of honesty, it may be a way out of the forest…


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