Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sigh...

Remember when you were a kid? You thought that your mother and your father were perfect. They could do anything, and certainly do no wrong, either.

Remember the first time you saw a chink in that shiny armor, the slightest dent or taint? When you realized they weren't perfect? How did you feel? I was at a lost, and I remember the exact moments that I came to the realization that they were humans, not only capable of making mistakes, but big ones. It took a long time to get used to that fact, but eventually, I learned that these things just aren't that simple...

I had a terrible moment of deja' vu yesterday evening.

Right after breaking the fast on a much needed coffee, I climbed into my car to get some grub. My phone rings, and it's my cousin, bearing terrible news. Apparently, an important person that we know very well was arrested, implicated in some sort of money laundering scam. This person ( a Hasidic Rebbe, actually), is very close to my community. More so, he's very close to my immediate family. I've known him all my life, gotten brachas (blessings) from him at least once a year, and have asked for his advice numerous times.

Needless to say, I'm shocked and dismayed.

I know white collar crime is common in the jewish community (not just among the Hasidim either), be it large scale insurance frauds and tax evasion, or on a very personal level. I don't know where the permission to do these things is found, either; I'm not the most learned person, but dishonesty is dishonesty, any way you slice it. Even if it's not strictly forbidden, not written explicitly in the Torah "though shall not...", I don't understand how one can compartmentalize falsehood to just his business dealing with gentiles. It has to effect every other aspect, not to mention what kind of mention it sends to our children. Even if we know the difference, children tend to takes things quite literally, and see things in black and white...

I don't know what to say. I certainly don't think that Reb ______ is a bad person; on the contrary, I've known him too long to just write him off so quickly. I don't even know how involved he actually is in the whole deal. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this news.

One part of me wants him to get out as soon as possible, while the other part wants to ensure that he and his Hasidim get shaken up by this visit to jail, at least enough so that they won't be too hasty in doing this stuff again...

6 comments:

Ezzie said...

The NYTimes had an article. Pretty serious, sounds like close involvement. I'm sorry, man... :(

jjl said...

too many ways to putn this but stealing is stealling even if we are dealiing with millions of dollars which then becomes embezzlement or other fun terms. we all have our weaknesses , we have our predicalictions to different sins. even rabbim can fall. just gotta be sticky clean.

David_on_the_Lake said...

It's really sad..
It's a mindset I think..in those circles..
Still a shtetlish Me vs Them mindset.
That HAS to change..
They have to finally come to America..both physically and mentally...

Ehav Ever said...

Sorry to hear this. Sometimes it situations like this that make us realize just how human we all are. Sometimes having Torah knowledge is not enough without a certain level of musar behind it. We have many examples of highly learned Hachamim who are strong in some areas and weak in others. Hopefully justice will be served with the right ratio of teshuvah.

G said...

This person ( a Hasidic Rebbe, actually), is very close to my community
---------
How do you figure?

ProfK said...

Sorry, but this is not limited to the chasidishe community in any way. Allentown Penitentiary not only has kosher food facilities but a daf yomi shiur--and the inmates aren't chasidim.