New York – Today’s published report in the Jewish Journal quoting Rabbi Steven Weil when he spoke on Shabbat at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills in January 2008, reads as follows: “Weil famously said of the so-called Spinka rabbis: You call yourself a tzadik [righteous person]; you’re a liar!”
Rabbi Weil today issued the following response:
“The association of my statement of January 2008 with the Spinka Rebbe is patently false. Over 800 people heard the sermon when I specifically said that when we address financial corruption, we are not pointing fingers but are referring to ourselves. It was about our own community and not about anyone else. What I said was the exact opposite of what the story implied. The specific comment was a challenge to any of our membership who, G-d forbid, may be led to believe that cheating on taxes, lying when marketing one’s product or profession, and manipulative pricing policies are tolerated, while at the same time they observe Shabbos, kashrus and taharas hamishpacha.
My remarks were not to condemn anyone else, but rather to look at ourselves. The more than 800 people who were in the sanctuary for Shabbat services that morning, including individuals who were quoted in the original story two years ago, can verify that. My agenda was to take care of my congregation, my family, and myself and not to sit in judgment of the Spinka Rebbe.”