An Aspiring Mekubal

The confessions of a Rabbi and would be mystic

Measure for Measure

In case you haven’t heard(and it hasn’t been overly well reported, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg was niftar today and his funeral is happening the same time as the children for Toulouse.  I don’t normally go in for things like this, but as everyone at the Yeshiva was saying how, despite Rav Scheinberg being a Gadol, and he was, that one should rather attend the funeral of the children because they are holy martyrs of the Jewish faith.  As such Rav Scheinberg will not receive anywhere near the honor in escorting him into the next world.  What am I getting at?   Well as these various conversations were going on, I remembered that Rav Scheinberg had written several very controversial teshuvot forbidding one to aid in investigations of pedophiles.  His ruling was that unless very specific acts had taken place against children of very specific ages no actual Torah prohibition would have been breached that would allow one to moser(hand over) a Jew to non-Jewish authorities(and somehow the Israeli police fit that description.

So I find it rather satisfying and more than a bit ironic that three children, all holy martyrs are now going to receive the honor that normally would have been accorded this great Torah Sage(don’t get me wrong I think he was a great Torah Sage, just dead wrong on this issue).  I’m no Baal Ruah HaKodesh to be able to say with any certainty(though does not stop a great many from making these kind of pronouncements) but it seems to me that once again we see Hashem’s justice, measure for measure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edit:  There seems to be some sort of confusion about the timeline here.   So let me straighten this out.  The children were martyred on the 19th.  On account of whatever their bodies were not able to arrive until the 21st.  Rav Scheinberg passed the same morning that the bodies arrived for burial.  The children were NOT murdered on the same day.  So what I was attempting to say was that I found it interesting that Hashem required of Rav Scheinberg his soul on the same day that these holy martyrs were to be buried.

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38 thoughts on “Measure for Measure

  1. This is the hesped you give a godol b’Torah?!

  2. Thank you for daring to say such a thing. It’s very validating.

  3. Did anyone ever ask him for clarification? Do we believe that he must have made tshuva? Was there any indication he changed his mind on this topic?

    • He wrote a Teshuva about it, where exactly it is I don’t remember currently, though you can find the main points online by doing a google search, it caused sufficient outrage.
      His ruling which he would later defend repeatedly essentially went like this. Because Kolko did not anally penetrate his victims that no forbidden sex act had occurred according to Torah. Thus it was forbidden to report to the police. It was forbidden to speak of it to the media. Those two things were bad enough, but the real kicker was that he ruled that it was forbidden to fire him from his job teaching first-graders. That was when the first around of accusations appeared in 1985.

      In 2006, when the NY Magazine broke the story on Kolko, and as he was then actually facing criminal charges, Rav Scheinberg re-issued his ruling. His continued support ensured that Kolko remained in contact with children until the day of his(long overdue in my opinion) conviction.

      He has never retracted his psak, and has repeatedly defended it. Countless children came to harm because of this.

  4. I heard of one case where someone asked Rav Scheinberg what to do about a certain pedophile. His response was to draw his finger across his throat as if to indicate a shechita. Then he added, That what should be done if you can”.
    This story comes form a reliable source. Has anybody else heard of this?

    • I also heard a story from a very reliable source that when asked Rav Scheinberg said that silk screen printed STA”M articles were halakhically preferable to those actually written by a sofer. That despite him writing in his sefer Mishmeret Haim.

      To put it another way, I’m going to trust his signed letters(2) and published Teshuvot over a person’s story.

  5. No Name on said:

    You’re an asshole – Mekubal. A total asshole.

  6. The justification for not reporting Kolko was not published in a teshuva. It is alleged. I believe it because there are reliable sources but to suggest that he published these opinions in a written teshuva is not accurate. Please find the teshuva.

  7. yos fratkin on said:

    The amount of people at his levaya (tens of thousands) do not attest to your theories.

    The letter you published (though seriously worrying on it’s own) does not shed any pointer to your accusations that he forbade aiding investigatingpedophiles.

  8. James on said:

    Can you name rabbanim that declined to attend?

  9. yos fratkin on said:

    “official” here or there, the reports say “tens of thousands” (I saw this in arutz sheva who is not the haredi broadcast.

    • You seem to mistake my point. I’m not saying that he didn’t receive honor. I am simply saying that it is not the same level as it would have been had he passed a day later. Since both his funeral and that of the four martyrs were running concurrently, unless you were someone like Shlomo Amar and had Shin Beit to get you through the crowd, you had to choose one or the other.
      Simply compare his funeral with that of the Vishnitz Rebbe just a short bit ago. The Prime minister spoke, hundreds of thousands, not 10s, showed up. In my view and my point was that if even one Gadol(and it was a fair bit more than one) chose to rather attend the funeral of the martyrs the honor that Rav Scheinberg would have received is greatly reduced.

      • yos fratkin on said:

        I’m not sure your point is correct. The unofficial numbers placed his funeral by over 50,000 if i’m not mistaking. The big roshey yeshivos appeared (and by the Vishnitzer Rebbe Idid not see numbers klike “hundreds of thousands” ), so I fail to see the point for “measure to measure”. And if there is a point, then it behooves one to speak with little more respect about this sensitive issue how not to malign a person of this stature while trying to convey the message of not protecting pedophiles.

      • Well for Vishnitz, the unofficial numbers were somwhere between 150-200k. While I will admit that the many of the big Litvak Roshei Yeshivot were there, absent were those of the Sephardim and many of the Chassidishe Admorim, as well as the who’s who of the Eida. Nor were any of the major movers in the Government there. Quite the opposite of what happened with the Admor of Vishinitz.
        As to Rav Scheinberg’s stature. I would ask that you bear in mind that this is the same Rav who aided and abetted Leib Tropper in his career as a pimp, who to the day of his death stood by Tropper and defended his supposed innocence. The same Rav who in his 2006 letter accused the victims and their parents of lying to try to intentionally hurt Kolko. I understand that he had a Yeshiva, and that he was, so to speak well connected, but quite honestly as far as his stature… well first let me give you a piece from Rav Haim Vital in his sefer Etz HaDaat Tov:

        We are required to admonish the sinner for what he has done. If that one still chooses not to do teshuva (repent), we are to admonish him again. This is the meaning of the words, “you must certainly admonish” (literally Hokheah Tokhiyah, admonish, you shall admonish), expressing a doubling. If after the second time the violator does not do teshuva (repent), it is a mitzvah to hate him/her. Only then will you “not bear a sin because of him” (Lev.
        19:17).

        Thus by enabling first Kolko for twenty-one years and later Leib Tropper in his own sins, the Rav bears a share in each of those sins. Quite honestly my computer can retain a great amount of Torah information(in fact it does) however that does not make it a Tzadik. Without middot all we have is information. Consider Jereboam who could interpret, not just 70, but rather 700 faces of Torah, and for whom all of the scholars of his day were as herbs of the field before him. Yet he lost his place both in this world and the world to come(Sanhedrin 102, Shaarei Kedusha 2:4). Other men whose wisdom and Torah were legend(Ahitophel and Doeg) also lost their portion in this world and the world to come. Wisdom and Torah knowledge does not make one a Tzadik, nor does it give one any sort of true stature worthy of praise. One’s deeds must match one’s Torah.
        Aiding in the harming of hundreds upon hundreds(potentially thousands) of boys. Boys who were entrusted to a Yeshiva to have their souls formed and filled with Torah, but were instead harmed and had their souls destroyed. Such a one you would count worthy of some sort of Kavod. In my not so humble but very honest opinion, it is an absolute shame that any but the bear minimum turned out Rav Scheinberg’s funeral. In breaths truth into Rav Helbrans statement, “Who decided that they’re the greatest sages? It’s all deals and politics.” No wonder Lev Tahor is growing so fast.

  10. James on said:

    The letter you posted is not a teshuva but nonetheless, I retract my first comment. The letter will forever taint his reputation.

  11. Dayana on said:

    I totally agree with you Rabbi Michael! Searching on the web on Rabbi Scheinberg and… I find this blog:adkan…you know it? I thinking you could be of great help with your words to the woman who writes the blog in this blog entitled:..a frum incest survivor.
    Ok…Congratulations for your blog.

    p.s: sorry my english is very bad!

    kol tuv

  12. Yeshivat haMekubalim Kol Yehudah v'Eliyahu on said:

    BS”D: From the rabbanit of haRav Yehudah Alfasi – I just read an article in Mishpacha magazine about the tell-tale signs of abusers and they are alarming and vitally important to be aware of. These guys don’t abuse EVERY child – they are selective and bet on the kids keeping silent and the parents denying the validity. And i hope everyone makes a more definite effort to, as the article asserts, send the message that we collectively are creating an environment that is actually hostile to such abusiver’s and their predatory behavior.

    I hear and feel your sense of injustice in Rav Sheinberg’s psak and that you want better for these victims. But wonder how we can give him the benefit of the doubt here? When I read only what you posted, it seems the ikar is not turning to non-Jewish authorities (and Arab judges in our courts here DO make our police problematic, halachically). Was he implying (as the schochet comment points out) that we should find other Jewishly-correct ways of dealing with these monsters? I would like to assume so since he was a Gadol. Can it be he simply meant he’s bound by halacha not to report, but that we can reconcile the anecdote given about him as a support for his being a rav, halachic expert, decent Jew and Gadol has his name implies? It seems he was pained by the realities, but unable to use goyish courts to adjudicate these claims. I’ve heard of some interesting tactics by some ravs up here in the north who in secret give a nod to “former” mobsters who make teshuva and suggest rather unsavery ways of dealing with criminals without using the police. T

    The Mishpacha magazine article sites many excellent studies that show these methods work to reduce abuse. The reverse is also true – don’t neglect your kids! Stay home, give them the attention they deserve. Don’t numb them with videos, don’t let adult be “friends” with them, don’t send them out or leave them alone, give them healthy boundaries, and do your tikkun with your kids, don’t let others make your life easier by having easy access to them. They might have ulterior motives. thanks and kol tuv.

    • I’m sorry. But for me benefit of the doubt died for him in 2006. When over a hundred witnesses came forward and the Rav insisted that they were all lying.

      A great many disturbing things have been said over the years about the Rav, all of which I am willing to say that perhaps there was some sort of misunderstanding ect…

      However, considering the duration of this error. Considering that other Rabbanim such as R’ Avigdor Miller plead with him and then condemned him for his stance, yet he never listened to them, I find it to be quite beyond the point of “benefit of the doubt.” There is no doubt.

      As far as our courts(Israeli) being a “problem” Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav S.Z. Auerbach, Rav Shternbuch, Rav Eliashiv have all written extensive Teshuvot that the police MUST be contacted IMMEDIATELY and that there is NO problem with our police or courts. They all write to neglect to do so is to make oneself a partner in the sin and equally culpable al pi Torah even if not by secular law. I do not know who gave you the impression otherwise but whoever they were, they were in serious error.

      Rav Moshe Feinstein and the Last Lubavitcher Rebbe(as well as many others in the US) said the same thing about the US Court system.

      Aside from two(Rav Scheinberg and Rav Menashe Klein) all the major gedolim of this generation have said that a pedophile has the din of rodef and must be stopped at all cost.

      • Not that I agree with his Pesak whatsoever, I will tell you something that you might find to be true. This Teshuva, just like all other Teshuvot is Halacha. Halacha may have bad ramifications, but at the end of the day, if it’s Halacha it’s Halacha. Rav Sheinberg and Rav Klein both Torah giants weren’t saying these people are Tzadikim, but Lefi Halacha you can’t do anything. To endanger kids in a case where a lot Gedolim (including the big two: Rav Ovadia Shelit”a and Rav Elyashiv Shelit”a) doesn’t sit with me. However, what I’m trying to say is – Halacha is Halacha, and we don’t get mad at Posekim because we don’t like Pesak.

  13. James on said:

    Hacham Gabriel,

    NOT everything a posek says is halacha. That is not how halacha works. NOONE has the right to make halacha. The job of a posek is to determine the law not make it.

    There is not a word of Torah or Halacha in that letter. If you want to see how a posek determines the law and applies it to the facts, open up a Yabia Omer. There you will see a discussion of sources and application to the facts.

    Becoming a posek doesnt entitle anyone to make law. This letter is stupidity, not law.

  14. To disagree is one thing, but to call Torah giants’ Sevarot is another. We don’t know why they Paskened this way. They are not making this Halacha, they determined it by their huge knowledge of Torah.

    • Actually we do. At least with Menashe Klein. I will gladly post his Teshuva, and in my opinion it is quite laughable. He opens by acknowledging that several Gedolim say to report to the police, but since he doesn’t have their seforim he can’t debate their actual points, just know that they are wrong.
      Here it is, english first and then the Hebrew.

    • James on said:

      Once again I think you misunderstand how halacha works. Just because a posek says something, does not make it halacha. We do NOT say that anything a posek says is the result of his huge knowledge and therefore halacha. If we did, there would be no need for the entire Yabia Omer.

      Halacha has to be based on sources. Sevara is a method by which one analyzes sources. It is not a source of law.

  15. Pingback: Protecting Pedophiles: The Psak of Rav Menashe Klein « An Aspiring Mekubal

  16. Yeshivat haMekubalim Kol Yehudah v'Eliyahu on said:

    I wonder what Rav Ovadia said on this matter? I have limited time on the web, so I can’t read all the comments here, but whatever. Not much to be done about it, except move on, be more vigilant and educated to protect our kids, know the signs and recognize them. Maybe there’s a way to get these guys of positions like that without going ’round (disputed) halacha, like they do in business= “downsizing, reduced enrollment” the usual excuses for getting rid of rotten apples in the public schools. Reducing hours to the point of being rediculous…

  17. As for the comment about going to the Israeli courts, I’ve understood we (religious) have to first get an ishur from a dati beit din if we decide to use the courts. That seems like good sense.

  18. PS: These comments are by rav Yehuda’s wife, not the rav himself, fyi, who isn’t on internet or write english. thx.

  19. Justme on said:

    I do not like your reasoning. Because it boils down to: what a luck that those children in Toulouse were killed exactely on this day. And this is cruel, something I utterly reject.

    • Actually no. The children of Toulouse were martyred 3 days prior. So what it boils down to is luck(or providence depending on how you see it) that Rav Scheinberg passed on the same day that the various levels of bureaucracy were finally able to bring their bodies to Eretz Yisrael for burial.
      I know that another blog mistakenly said that they passed on the same day and linked to my own. However, that simply is not the case.

  20. hacham on said:

    Hacham, whether or not we like Pesaskim (or if they are wrong) we don’t look down on their authors. Hacham Yitzchak Yosef Shelit”a in Sefer En Yitzhak cites Rav Menashe Klein ZSWQ”L many times. Hacham Yitzchak Shelit”a writes in his Hakdama to En Yitzchak that if you want to argue with someone you must do it respectfully.

    You shouldn’t take offense to Piske Halacha. That’s all I’m trying to say.

    • Not so. I can give you a great many instances, especially surrounding the issue of child abuse, where Gedolim say that is not the case. Anyone who protects a molester according to the Sho’el UMashiv, R’ Shach, R’ Eliashiv, R’ Moshe Halberstam, Tzitz Eliezer, R’ Ovadiah Yosef, and Minchas Yitzchok(to name but a few) are equally guilty of the sin.
      In this case as various Rabbanim have pointed out and given testimony that, this was a second Beit Din that was convened, because Rav Menashe Klein walked out on the first when it became clear that the other two Dayyanim intended to hand the entire matter over to the police. Instead of finding a third Dayyan from the many eligible Rabbanim in the US, instead were flown in Israeli Rabbis selected by Rav Menashe Klein. In short the Beit Din itself was convened contrary to the halakha. If you want a detailed Teshuva as to how exactly this B”D was convened contrary to Halakha I would be happy to provide it. Furtheremore the Sh”A C”M 8:1 says that it is a mitzvah to ridicule and denigrate a B”D convened contrary to halakha.

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