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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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Telling It like It Is

The defacto infallibility of "gedolim" alienates “both those who were brought up frum and especially for those who were not.”

I do not recall any Charedi Rav ever saying anything like this in public. His honesty and insight is matched by few people.

I don’t know Rabbi Eisenman. I have never met him. But he is one of my heroes. His views are much the same as my own. As I read this piece over Shabbos, I felt like I was reading my own words. I hope Rabbi Eisenman doesn’t mind if I say that we are kindred spirits.

What makes this essay significant is what kind of person said it. Rabbi Eisenman is not Modern Orthrodox. He is Charedi. He has been published many times in Charedi magazines like Mishpacha and Ami.  One cannot accuse him of bashing Charedim. What he ‘bashes’ is the unhealthy way in which the Charedi world has evolved with respect to viewing their Gedolim. And he tells us the dangers inherent in this newly evolved ‘product’.

This is not the first time I have been impressed with Rabbi Eisenman. He has a sensitivity to those outside of his own community that is rare among men. Not long ago he wrote a brilliant essay strongly disagreeing with a commonly used phrase about non religious Jews. The phrase is ‘Not yet Frum Jews’. He found it to be terribly condescending and arrogant!

And then there was another incident where he rose to the occasion. It happened at the ‘Interent Asifa’ a couple of years ago. Rabbi Eisenman attended it. Outside the stadium where this event took place stood a group of sex abuse victims and their advocates. They were protesting outside the Assifa complaining that their very serious issues were being being given very short shrift. For the most part they were ignored by the attendees and the prominent Rabbanim that spoke at the event. But they were not ignored by Rabbi Eisenman. He went up to them and stood by them for a while – recognizing the justice of their cause. So I add him to my list of Charedi heroes. Which among others includes Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz. These are the men who should be leading Charedi Jewry. They’ve got it right.

How often have we heard when a prominent person, perhaps even a rebbe or a rabbi is accused of the ‘unspeakable’ we suddenly hear a chorus of supporters coming forward to claim, “I know this man well. He is a Talmid Chochom and a Frum Yid, there is no way he engaged in the horrific acts you are accusing him of committing.

The victim is the ‘evil one’ as often they have left the path of Torah (can you blame them?) and now they are conveniently placed in the box of ‘evil’.

However, as time goes on, the allegations become fact and the suspicions become reality. And the perpetrator was indeed a respected (man)…

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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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One Response to “Telling It like It Is”

  1. Stuart Rosenthal says:

    I generally don't have an issue with going to the Rabbis first but the question is what are they (Rabbis) doing to solve the problem? Are they demanding the alleged perpetrator complete a course of therapy? Do they have a professional they can turn to for advice? Will they go to the police if all else fails? If they do not have the wherewithal or desiret to fix the problem, the victim should go to the authorities

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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