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”.