Tuesday, January 12, 2016

// // 3 comments

Why would you spread a story of Hillul Hashem?

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On the article “When the Rabbi Falls Down”, which discusses a rabbi in Washington DC who did something very inappropriate and illegal, a commentor sent via Facebook…

“Why would you share and spread a story of Hillul Hashem? This was not so well published in Israel.”

In the Torah Moshe Rabaynu, Moses our Teacher, of whom the Torah says “never again rose a prophet like Moshe, whom G-d knew face to face” (Devarim – Deuteronomy 34:10), we read that G-d told him to speak to the rock to give water…and Moshe hit the rock (Devarim 20:6).  Rashi writes, “The Torah indicates that if it were not for this sin alone, they would have entered the Land.”  (And Moses died outside of the Land of Israel.)

Moses, our greatest teacher, our greatest rabbi, our greatest prophet, WHOM GOD KNEW FACE TO FACE, sinned?  AND THE TORAH TELLS US ABOUT IT??????

Miriam, Moses’s sister, a prophetess in her own right, who lead the women in singing praises to G-d after crossing the Red Sea, chastises her brother, the man whom G-d knew face to face, for separating from his wife.   (Bamidbar – Numbers 12:1) “Miriam and Aharon spoke critically about Moshe regarding (his separation) from the women…that he had married.  They said “Has G-d only spoken to Moshe? Hasn’t He spoken to us too (yet we continue oru marriages as normal)?”

G-d rebukes them and gives Miriam leprosy.  Publically.  The whole nation waits in it’s journey while she is quarantined outside the camp for 7 days (Devarim 12:15).

Miriam – the lead female prophet of the Jewish people.  Publically rebuked, embarrassed in front of the whole nation, recorded for all time in the holy Torah.

Judaism and the Torah have to be the strangest religion and word of G-d writing in the world – ever and forever.  We read about holy things, and G-d, and holy people who sometimes MAKE MISTAKES, and sometimes are punished.  NOT holy inhuman saints of absolute perfection.  People…special holy people, but people with people like reactions.

Did the prophet Yonah (Johan) run away from his prophecy and G-d?

Did King David send Uriyah to the front lines to possibly die to get his wife?

…etc etc etc.  It does not do us well to pretend that mistakes are never made, that our leaders are perfect or infallible, that our holy organizations and institutions ways are always holy and good.  And the Torah itself teaches us that there are mistakes, even among our leaders and prophets, and they are to be learned from.

Sadly in Israel portions of the religious community do put on facade of perfect holiness, and because of this when there is a breach – and there will ALWAYS be occasional breaches, the chiloni (non-to-anti-religious secular Israelis) dance with delight at having caught charedi hypocrisy.  If instead the charedi were ‘people involved in holiness and goodness and charity and Torah, but people who occasionally fall down’, then the only chiloni reaction would be “yeah, they’ve got some problematic people too”.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between your article and loshon hara? Can you please explain it to me, as I am confused.
When is it permissable and/or a mitzvah to tell a story of someone's bad behaviour, and when is it not?
Please clarify this position.
Thank you.

Gary said...

This is criminal behaviour, NOT bad behaviour!

Akiva said...

"The last chapter of the section Hilchot Lashon Hara in sefer Chafetz Chaim, has 17 numbered paragraphs discussing situations when speaking Lashon Hara for a constructive purpose would be permitted...

1. Speaking L"H to help others: If someone witnessed another person wronging his fellow...he may discuss the incident...to publicly disparage such evil behavior."

4. Constructive intentions: ...he wantes others to avoid evil ways when they learn that people criticize those who commit such sins.

...the speech would not be considered Lashon Hara but rather constructive, so long as the speaker does not intend to enjoy the disgrace he puts upon his fellow. The speaker must speak out of a passion for the truth, and hope that through his words some constructive purpose will result.

If, however, the speaker realizes his words will not result in any constructive outcome, for example the group he would tell are "ba'alei Lashon Hara" (habitual speakers of L"H, such that they will indiscriminately repeat it), and that they have committed similar evils and thought nothing of it, one should be extremely careful not to speak to them. Not only will speaking to them provide no purpose, but it may also cause great damage.

6. When even Rechilut (gossip) might be permitted

In certain cases, it is permissible to tell others about a sin bein adam l'chaveiro (i.e. one person wrongs another) even if the victim is unaware of the offense. This is when speaking about it will result in an actual positive outcome...

"Actual positive outcome" requires definition so as not to cause misunderstanding..."

(Reb Akiva adds)... I would debate that speaking about a subject that has already been publicized in a newspaper & and many websites without mentioning anyone involved might qualify as frivolous speech or maybe gossip, not Lashon Hara (evil speech, or speaking ill about another). Regardless, Lashon Hara, as I brought from the Chofetz Chaim above, is permitted for appropriate constructive purposes.

I believe giving it a context, for those who would be affected by or take advantage of the Chillul Hashem, is exactly such a purpose.

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