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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Dear Rachel,

Now that the chassidic “counselor” has been sentenced to languish in prison for the rest of his days, are you still inclined to stick up for his kind?

Bet you are…

Dear Bet,

That would depend on what you mean by “his kind.” There is absolutely no defense for sickeningly offensive behavior. But if by “his kind” you allude to the sect he belonged to, I stand by my previous conviction: one sick individual does not reflect on a whole group of people (see Chronicles of Crisis 1-18-2013).

That said, the concept of chassidism is based on holding oneself up to a higher moral and spiritual standard than the norm, and so it isn’t at all surprising that many of his community continue to be in denial. The mere thought of the accusations brought against the defendant remains unfathomable in the minds of the truly pious.

Hopefully, this tragic episode has served to shake up the complacent among us: As Jews, it is incumbent on us to behave with decorum and solemnity, particularly in a court of law. Where is our show of gratitude and appreciation for the medina shel chesed we are fortunate to live in? Sneering and flaunting a “holier-than-thou” attitude only demonstrates ignorance and disrespect and can end up creating more damage — as it did. Have some of us perhaps forgotten that we are in golus? Better to keep it in mind at all times.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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