Los Angeles – Charedi Rabbi Who Refused To Rat On Jews Freed After Seven Months In Prison

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    In this Dec. 11 2012 photos Zigelman in Shul reciting The Gomel Blessing at the Torah in an unidentified Borough Park synagogue. Photo: CourtesyLos Angeles – A judge has ordered a Brooklyn orthodox rabbi be freed after he refused to answer questions, saying his religion forbids him from testifying against other Jews.

    The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/VyWsiM ) Judge Margaret Morrow ordered Rabbi Moshe Zigelman freed Monday, after he spent seven months in a Brooklyn jail.

    Morrow ordered Zigelman freed when a federal prosecutor agreed in court papers that “additional incarceration would be futile” in compelling the rabbi to testify.

    Zigelman was found in civil contempt in Dec. 2011 after Morrow rejected his attorney’s argument that forcing him to testify would violate his First Amendment religious freedom.

    The Jewish doctrine of mesira bars Jews from informing on other Jews to secular authorities.

    Zigelman had been called before a grand jury regarding an investigation into the Spinka sect, which was accused of tax fraud.

    He had pleaded guilty in 2008 to criminal conspiracy and received a two-year prison sentence.

    Below video: Munkatch Rebbe Dancing with Rabbi Moshe Eliezer Ziegelman After Chanukkah Candle Lighting on Dec. 11 2012.

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    73 COMMENTS

    1. How refreshing! If only all Jews were like him, unfortunately were in the middle of a competition her who can throw more Jews in jail for the longest period of time.

    2. Tzadik hador ! Kemoischoo yirbee b’yisroel !

      I have no idea where this man took the strength he has demonstrate. Ready to go to jail, not simple jail but a like central booking facility where there are no service, visits, organization. Living on vegetable and water for months, suffering from being with murderers and rapists. All, not to be moiser mumen yisroel. Its a story for history, a proudness for Judaism, a sample of mesires nafesh.

    3. A real tzadik.
      It is a chov to tell our kids this story to teach them real Mesiras nefesh.Special these days when yidden are willing to inform on other yidden.

      • The 5th Amendment allows you to not incarcerate YOURSELF. He was charged with impeding an investigation, withholding vital information, and finally contempt of court.
        I agree that what he did is extremely meritous but I don’t think his frumkiite is what kept him from spilling the beans. Unfortunately many times the legal counsel is misdirected and persists that the prosecution doesn’t have a real case (as in the Rebashkin case) until it’s too late to make a deal.

          • Brooklynhocker Says: “ The 5th Amendment allows you to not incarcerate YOURSELF.

            WRONG! You are entitled to incarcerate yourself anywhere, anytime you like. You can even have other people incarcerate you, if you like that kind of thing.

            Your legal understanding is hilarious. the only thing you got right was that Zigelman is as much of a criminal as is SMR.

            What kind of pretend-Jews not only celebrate criminals who are convicted felons, but call them tzaddikim who are making Kiddush Hashems? You false-frum pretenders are disgusting pigs who should not be allowed to set foot in a shul, let alone count for a minyan. You are worse than Meshumads, as you pretend to still be religious when you have no moral or ethical values in your lives. You disgust me!

    4. What a beautiful story. It reminds me of the stories I read as a youth about the mesiras nefesh that pashutah yidden showed in communist Russia where they would rather get sent to Siberia than be moser on their fellow brothers who were practicing their religion in secrecy.

      -not

      • My tehillim also worked and Weberman is in jail and we have now a much safer community Baruch hashem

        Seems to me like ALTERG (#12) and MONALISA (#4) are the same people, which is fine.

        • Actually, we’re not! 🙂 I don’t know who AlterG is, but it is said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! So thanks! And it’s good to know so many of us say Tehillim for these men.

    5. If it’s truly unethical to inform on others, then why would we be allowed to inform on a person who is a Non-Yid. Aren’t we supposed to love all people.
      Would we want the Catholics to abstain from informing on there own, while agreeing to inform on Yidden?

    6. Can anyone please tell me more about the niggun in the little video with the Munkatcher Rebbe? Is it a Munkatcher niggun? Special for Channukah? What are the words? I would appreciate it very much.
      This man is a reall tzaddik, whether or not the tax fraud charges are true.

    7. I think that by keeping the הלכה his mother (that i knew personal) was very proud of him
      As a family member and Jewish brother we are really proud of you and we are happy to see u out finally hopefully the last time
      People like u help bring משיח!

    8. Baruch Hashem a yid that makes such a gevaldige kiddush hashem. Mesira is one of the biggest aveiros; which obviously too many are uninformed of. This brave behavior and good deeds is a story fitting for the old sages and tzaddikim. Our generation has a lot to learn when looking at a man like this. The priority of yidden not trusting in hkb”h and running to the govt authorities to masser or take revenge is so disfunctional at this present time. That those involved will only get to reap their rewards in the pain and hardships in later generations when they;ll be more honest with themselves. But then it’ll be too late.

      • “Mesira is one of the biggest aveiros;”

        Its a slippery slope to say things like that – as far as I know, no one knows how mitzvos or averos stack up. Yes it is an aveiro, but is it bigger than geneiva? I applaud his commitment not to maser on other Yidden, we should not forget what brought him to that situation.

        • We may not know the schar associated with mitzvos, but there are levels of severity to eveyros. See the Mishna Brura in the introduction to the 3rd chelek (in the 3rd paragraph) where he lists the order of severity of punishments.

          • Mesirah is not only NOT one of the bigget aveiros, but many gedolim hold that the inyan of Mesirah does not exist in modern times, and certainly not in the United States. In fact, there is a big MITZVAH to turn in people who cheat on taxes, for instance, or who drive drunk, or molest children, which would result in possible injury or death, or a chillul Hashem if discovered.

            You are confusing mesirah with Omerta, which considers mafia members who tell authorities about others committing crimes to big a very big aveirah. This confusion within the chassidishe community is completely understandble.

    9. Very refreshing news! A real hero to look up to! Not surprising, that of all the 25 comments I read on this thread only ONE person had something negative to post. And you guessed it right… “shredready”

      • You are so right. The guy that’s always READY to SHRED everybody is obviously either not Jewish or Not observant.
        I have long learned not to listen to anything he/she says.

    10. to add what i mean to say it is honorable what he did but no tzadiuk if you he would a tzadiuk he would not have been involved in money laundering. It seems among so in the frum world they take financial crimes very lightly or feel it is not a averah at all. No shame no repercussion from the community

      this only leads the next generation to do the same.

      lets see protect molesters, think financial criminals are tazidikium no wonder people mock you

      • I hardly ever comment but I need to let this out of my system you shredready are some bitter obsessive person your regular comments give you away. I agree there is a lot we need to work on in our community but there is also a whole lot of good going on. Bein Odom Lachaveiro helping people in need cancels most evil in our midst. Try to look at the good sometimes.

    11. The idea that you can not witness against a fellow jew is a fraud against the Torah of Moses. Israel has a duty to inform the public when a jew is violating an existing law, provided that the law is just.

      • “provided that the law is just.” i like that quote, as if you know whats going on in US prisons today or how Corrupt the government system is, you would know that it’s not so just

    12. The reason Moshiach is not here is because Jews do not follow the Torah. It does not matter how long your beard is. Having sex with 13 year old girls and boys is an Aveirah. Stopping people from molesting boys and girls is a Mitzvah. Stealing from the government is an Aveirah. It is so simple. You are so caught up in following your Rebbelles, you have lost all common sense and decency.
      You people in Brooklyn and Monsey are so lost, if I was Moshiach, I would not want to have anything to do with you.

      • So you admit why you can’t be moshiach because he loves every Jew being from Brooklyn or Monsey dosen’t matter. Maybe because he loves evry jew, you don’t want mosiach at all.

    13. reply to #32:
      There are a few aveiros that get warnings as harsh as ” al tehi sikve” and read what the gemara says about it. I didn’t say it’s the only, gravest sin, I said it’s from the biggest aveiros. From, meaning one of some. Please please read correctly so you wouldn’t need to just unimportantly comment.

      Reply to shredready:
      Firstly, I suggest you go back to first grade and learn grammer correctly and perhaps before you take the liberty of commenting here.

      Reply to #31:
      I don’t know which Torah you’re refering to. Perhaps when you refer to your false testament that “Israel has a duty to inform the public when a jew is violating an existing law” You might be refering to the “New Testament” since in the old testament “Israel (as in yidden; if you meant that) has a duty and an obligation to absolutely not report anyone to authorities” It is an aveira. point blank. You are a heretic if you twist the words of the torah or if you misinterpet it.

    14. Hey guys, how can most of you call this Rav a tsaddik? How can a tsaddik: “.. had pleaded guilty in 2008 to criminal conspiracy and received a two-year prison sentence”??? Honestly, the support you give him is SHOCKING! It may be good he didn’t testify against Jews on a secular court (even though it would be BAD if it was about molstation) but still.

    15. so many confused and lost souls commenting on this forum. How in the world does molestation have to do with this story? This guy did no aveira. he wasn’t the alleged money launderer. He did what every erliche yid should do and that is not to massur. One of the most important things I think about daily is “Mi keamcha Yisroel” and with that I mean the torah and Hkb”h. And with that I mean and feel the simcha and pride of being a yid lifnim meshuras hadin. Without twisting and turning what the torah states and by being close to a competent and I mean ccompetetent well versed talmid chacham. Those that have found ways of finding fault in our torah, twisting its word or accusing those that follow it wholesomely have veered off the derech hayashar and have come to think that the olam hagoy, its mentality (which has pple killed , emotionall, mentaly and physically every day) and way of life; are more right or appealing or make more sense will surely when they feel the despair that the olam hagoy feels but somehow never honestly acknowledges it but will when the והיה ד’ למלך על כל הארץץ
      not merely believing theres a god but also believing his word honestly and truely.
      They will then rea

      • A Jew has an obligation, under secular and Jewish law (i.e. it is not mesira), to testify against a Jew who is a public menace (see Shach to Choshen Mishpat 388, 59), or if one is physically or psychologically harming another individual (for example, in instances of sexual abuse of children, students, campers etc., or spousal abuse). See Shach to Choshen Mishpat ibid, 45. I would categorize those who launder money for drug dealers as people who aid and abet grave menaces to our community, and therefore no better than the drug dealers themselves. Under American law someone with knowledge of such crimes is definitely required to testify and can be imprisoned for not doing so. The Aruch HaShulchan said in a footnote to his commentary to Choson Mishpat 318, that where there is a justice system that does not unfairly imprison Jews, one is not guilty of mesira by informing the government of a fellow Jew’s crimes. (Some hold that the Aruch HaShulchan’s statement there was writted by a censor and should be disregarded. R. Yitzhok Breitowitz argues that the A”S himself added the reference to the Czarist government as an example of a fair judicial system to prevent problems with the Czar)

        • You sound like a typical modern orthodox who preach all day to chasidim Dina demalcuta dina as if the mo obey all the laws.
          I bet you you are in the rank who believe in the new thing that frum Jews who are closeted gays should come out and not be ashamed and we should embrace them giving them aliya to the torah which is the view of many mo raboonim and from them we do not need guidance on anything
          The judge in this case put him in jail for contempt based on a mo rav who said as you claim.You guys are really “Megalah Ponim B’Torah Shelo K’halacha and Ain Lo Chelek L’olam Haboh

          • its funny how you have no problem making assumptions and about him and mo people, and yet you have no actual response to any of the sources he quoted.
            Instead of general attacks against modern people (which may or not be true, and certainly aren’t revenant), why don’t you actually explain why he’s wrong by addressing his sources?
            Or did the charedi world forget that judaism is actually based on halacha and not you personal feelings?

    16. cont.
      They will then realize that being a god fearing jew is not merely saying I believe in god like any christian or muslim might say. It means following our torah. Following the halachos within that. And they will thus realize how wrong they were and feel the painful consequences of their heretic beliefs. There is no such peace and simcha as following the straight path and looking at the good. And the only derech hayashar in this world is the instruction of the torah. Halacha says: velamalshinim al tehi tikva. Many of you commenting here are surely just searchers, searching for the truth all your life. You may have been taught things in an inconsistant sequence or with the tafel before the ikar and therefor your misunderstanding or misinterpeting some of the most important halachos in our torah. I suggest you read a few sefarim on emuna and bitachon and find yourself not only a guide that talks to your neshama but a competent rabbi who knows halacha well. you’re life will change and your undestanding to pure halacha and it’s psak will be much easier to undestand and carry out.

      • yes its a munkatcher nigun the song was composed by munkatcher rebbe for simchas beias hashoiava for his ishpizen, what do you want to know about the song so badly ?

    17. The idea that you can not witness against a fellow jew is a fraud against the Torah of Moses. Israel has a duty to inform the public when a jew is violating an existing law, provided that the law is just.

    18. Maybe I am a dreamer, maybe naive. Or, maybe I set the bar to high for who I consider a tzhadick for me someone who was involved in money laundering should be labeled a tzahdick. Must be that most who post here have a lower bar of what a thzadic is.

    19. He’s the furthest thing from a tzaddik. His admitted involvement in cheating the very same country where jews are free to practice judaism as they wish is both a disgrace and a huge chillul hashem. And if his practice of yiddishkeit allowed him to be a thief, its hard to respect his claim that all of a sudden he’s too frum to be a moiser.
      Shame on him and all who think he’s a tzaddik. If he is, then I’m moshiach.

      • When I “may” have not made a full stop at a stop sign and I get pulled over and the officer offers to change it for a parking ticket and I plea guilty on that does it mean I parked illegal? No it means that our so called justice system at its best.

        • you make a ridiculous comparison to a situation that could never happen.

          I don’t believe in all recorded history any cop ever changed a stop sign violation to a parking violation, not that it would be a good comparison even if it could ever happen. you are mamesh an idiot.

    20. Its not clear why the article drags the heilege Munkatch into this mess. The tax fraud investigation involved the Spinktar, not the Munkatch. Zigelman was trying to protect the Spintar who were known to have engaged in tax fraud and he had refused to testify about these tax chearts. The Munkatch chassidim are known to be extremely careful about full compliance with civil laws and have never been accused of any tax evasion.

    21. Money Laundering for Drug Cartels is probably not condoned by many. In the instant case however, Rabbi Zigelman pleaded guilty to not filing and reporting transactions above $10,000 from Donors who received cash back from their official “donations”. As money laundering is defined as hiding the proceeds from any crime (in this case tax evasion), I doubt that Rabbi Zigelman did any Aveireh, especially as he was following the directions of the Rebbe, and could not imagine that there was a Moiser among them wearing a wire & causing a Chilul Hashem. Rabbi Zigelman is indeed a Tzadik, in my humble opinion.

      • Federal law attacks money laundering through several different directions, one of which is by requiring anyone who receives $10,000 in cash through a single transaction or a series of transactions with the same person must file a Form 8300 with the IRS. In that form you report the name of the person or entity giving you the cash and their Social Security number or EIN. Charities that take large cash gifts — especially if they are required to give “change” should be wary and make sure that they file the Form 8300 within 24 hours completely filled. If not they might, at minimum, be charged with failure to file the form — risking their institution’s tax exempt status — or worse, charged criminally under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956, 1957 — knowingly aiding in suspected unlawful activies through money laundering. If convicted, the individual AND the institution risk forfeiture of any property that might have been purchased with their share of the ill-gotten gains. So, besides being a chillul Hashem, charity officials who accept such cash donations put their families and their institutions at serious risk. You would also be facing 20 years in jail and $500,000 fine (or 2x the money).

    22. I dont know what is more concerning- Rabbi Zeligman’s selective observance of Halacha (genaiva less important than mesirah?), or a community’s elevation of such action to heroic. Whatever the explanation, this case, coming on the heels of the Satmar molestation case, leaves to me wonder why such as a straight-laced community seems more than willing to act collectively as lawless bandits (or allow their leaders to present it thusly). It doesnt make sense.

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