Photo Credit: screenshot
The 11 victim--KEDOSHIM--killed in Squirrel Hill synagogue shooting
A story I heard from Rav Mordechai Schwab (1911-1994) Zt”L:
One day some Jewish ruffians attacked the yeshiva bochrim in Kamenetz.
The event caused a Chilul Hashem of Jew vs. Jew in the community.
Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz 1862 –1939, the Rosh Yeshiva, was asked to speak in the town for the expressed purpose of showing his disagreement, outrage and to clearly condemn the actions of other Jews which were not in accord with halacha and to teach people that often there are no grey areas, there is only darkness and light.
He was attempting to protest Hashem’s name which was sullied.
The following Shabbos Rav Baruch Ber was quiet. The next week again he was silent.
Finally, two weeks passed since the incident and only them did mount the pulpit to speak about the Chilul Hashem.
When asked why did he delay speaking for almost two full weeks, he replied, “Until today my feelings were raw and I was emotionally angry and unsettled. I waited until I was calmer in order to shape my words in a calmer, cohesive and more compelling manner.”
In the footsteps of Rav Baruch Ber, I write these lines as I too waited almost two weeks to write them.
So please, indulge a person whose title is “Rabbi” as he attempts to share his feelings of pain, shame and perhaps even doubt.
As we all know on October 27, 2018, eleven Jews were killed in cold blood as they attempted to connect to Hashem in the only way they knew.
They ranged in age from 54 to 97.
They were not evil people.
They were not murderers.
They were not even homosexuals.
They were the same Jewish people we all grew up with.
The same Jewish people who you meet at work or at the grocery.
They were not engaged in any salacious or licentious behavior, rather, they were involved in Jewish prayer in the only way they knew.
If you are Baal Teshuva, they are your fathers and your mothers, sisters, and brothers.
I have not heard one allegation against them with regard to criminal or immoral behavior.
They were killed because they were Jews.
When I was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn if a Jew was mugged no one asked what type of Shul he davened in. No one ever even thought about the question that his Synagogue affiliation should impact on the level of sadness or empathy we felt.
There was a time a Jew was a Jew.
And that was good.
Now a Jew is no longer a Jew; or at least not one you have to feel any pain for.
Now you are even allowed to call a Jew your enemy, you can blame the deaths of innocent people upon the victims themselves, and you can say all this in the name of Hashem.
You can be a 97 years old woman and be blamed for your own death and the deaths of others simply because the place she chose to daven to Hashem –was not in conformity to halacha, even though she was doing her best to connect to Hashem – based on her limited knowledge of Judaism.
There was a time when rabbis were compassionate.
There was a time when a rabbi’s love extended to all Jews without first “checking their tzitzis.”
When I was a little boy, we were told stories of how Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski Zt”l collected money to buy Matzas for the Jewish Communists who attended the local university.
And when I was a boy, it would have been simply incredulous to believe that a rabbi would make a video and disseminate it on which he would comment without hesitation and with pride after hearing of the massacre of eleven Jews ages 54-97, “I’m not sorry for this disaster.”
If someone would have told me that I would live to see the day when a long-bearded ostensibly Torah scholar would comment on the cold-blooded murder of eleven Jews, “I’m not sorry for this disaster.” I would have told you, “that is simply impossible. No Jew, and certainly no rabbi would ever say, “I’m not sorry for this disaster.”
Alas, it has happened.
And I am sorry I am talking about it.
However, most probably, you already know what I am talking about.
Outrageous comments always go viral.
And therefore in keeping with the Talmud’s teaching, “When a desecration of Hashem’s name is taking place, one should not show respect (even to) their Rebbe” (Brochus 19b) I write.
I need to share, as my heart is breaking.
I will attempt to break down this essay into parts.
Part 1: The Veracity of the Events Claimed
First of all, we must discuss the veracity of the claim made that a bris of a gay couple’s adopted son was taking place at the time of the massacre.
Ostensibly, this was the reason stated for the tragedy by the rabbi on the video.
When I was in Yeshiva we were taught to never believe second-hand sources.
We were told if the Mishna Berura quotes the Magen Avrohom, a truth-seeking Jew would himself look up the Magen Avrohom.
If someone told you a Psak in the name of Rav Moshe Zt”l, any true Ben Torah would ask, “What is the source of your information?”
And if the source was, “I heard it from someone who heard it from someone….” That Psak would be discounted and ignored.
If someone said a “Chiddush” (original thought) in the Gemara, you would respond, “What is your ra’yah (your proof)?”
The act of challenging the statement, questioning all claims which are unsubstantiated are the hallmarks of our people from time immemorial.
Shockingly, last week the rabbi who declared “I’m not sorry for this disaster.” admitted he learned about the “bris” from a gay website called the advocate.com.
What is the Advocate?
The Advocate is an American LGBT-interest magazine, printed bi-monthly and available by subscription. The Advocate brand also includes a website. Both magazine and website have an editorial focus on news, politics, opinion, and arts and entertainment of interest to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) people.” (Wikipedia)
I never knew what the Advocate was.
However, on the widely disseminated video, the rabbi relates how his son said,
“Abba, do you know what it says on the holy internet? It’s called Advocate.com. You know there was a Brit Milah (in the Shul in Pittsburgh).”
The rabbi replied, “You know I have a little Ruach Kodesh….”
 The son then asked his father, “Do you know who were the parents?”
The rabbi replied, “Yes, Hashem said to me, (the parents were) two men.
This is a Brit Milah in a conservative shul and the two men adopted the boy… and you wonder why there was a massacre?”
Unfortunately, these were the words were not said privately, they were said for the entire world to hear.
This “State of Union Address” has been shared over 22,000 times just on the website The Advocate!
Not to mention the tens of thousands of times it has appeared on other sites such as the Forward, YouTube, WhatsApp, and other social media mediums.
You can listen and see it for yourself.
Don’t rely on me.
It is outlandish and outrageous that the rabbi claims to have “ruach haKodesh.” Claiming to know why Hashem does what He does, is obviously very dangerous an and reckless way to act.
Who knows the reason behind Hashem’s ways?
Were the Kedoshim in Har Nof guilty of some sin which we must publicize and claim “we know” why they were killed?
Putting aside the incredulous claim of Hashem talking to this rabbi, everything he claimed as total truth was, in reality, a total fabrication and false. Every detail of what the rabbi said is false and a sheker.
Apparently, the rabbi’s Ruach HaKodesh was faulty that day.
There was no bris that day in the Shul, neuther for the son of a heterosexual couple nor for the adopted son of a gay couple. It was simply a fabricated lie, promulgated solely by the website Advocate.com.
Which of course leads to another basic question:
Why is the rabbi’s son, referred to as “Rav Yehuda” perusing the internet and reading a totally inappropriate site (a site no true ben Torah would ever look at) such as the Advocate?
That is very disturbing.
Yet, there is something even more disturbing.
Part 2: Our Reaction
Based on the above questionable source, Advocate.com, which the rabbi himself quotes, his acceptance of this truth as a truth from Sinai, there is also the problem of us.
This example of “fake news” that there was a bris that Shabbos of a child who was adopted by a gay male couple which the rabbi claimed Hashem personally informed him of was not only believed by him (after all, he heard it directly from Hashem) it was accepted “hook, line and sinker” by “everyone.”
Not one Jewish-Orthodox outlet questioned the veracity of the claim of the Bris, notwithstanding the source was this LGBTQ website called the Advocate.com.
No one questioned the truthfulness of the facts and no asked anyone to bring a proof
How sad this fact is.
The LGBTQ internet site called the Advocate.com was the ONLY source for this “fake news” that a Bris took place in the Shul.
No other respected or unrespected media outlet reported it, not the New York Times, not The Wall Street Journal, not even the National Enquirer- no one.
And for good reason they did not report it, there was never a bris in the shul to begin with!
Even the (sometimes) anti-Orthodox newspaper the Forward stated clearly, “there was no baby naming or bris last Shabbat morning,.”
Not one Jewish-Orthodox outlet questioned the veracity of the claim of the Bris, notwithstanding the source was this LGBTQ website called the Advocate.com.
No one questioned the truthfulness of the facts and no asked anyone to bring a proof
How sad this fact is.
Despite claims of Ruach HaKodesh and Hashem talking to people, the claimed event is simply false and all of us were duped by a hoax created by an LGBTQ website.
Part 3: How the Story Spread
The entire fairy-tale of the Bris was disseminated by an LGBT newspaper, which the mainstream media had enough seichel and wisdom not to repeat, as it was an unsubstantiated rumor.
However, “Rav Yehuda”, the son of the rabbi, “finds” this “fake news” while looking at the Advocate.com (Rachmana L’tzlan) – and tells his father.
His father confirms the veracity of the event (which never occurred) by stating to his son, “Hashem said to me (the parents) were two men!”
I find it unbelievable that Hashem’s speaks to this rabbi. But, one thing is for sure, Hashem certainly never told him that there was a bris when there wasn’t!
However disturbing the rabbi’s comments were, perhaps it is even more disturbing, that once this rabbi informed us of this “message from Hashem” none of us questioned this “fact.”
We questioned if they are still considered Kedoshim, we questioned how we should respond. No one questioned the possibility that the entire event was fabricated and false!
Shockingly, the rabbi, a man who is supposedly trained in analytical thinking and to always doubt a new idea unless it can be buttressed by multiple proofs, suddenly totally believes a report which only appeared in an LGBTQ website- which “stole” the information from the facebook page of an LGBTQ advocacy site–without permission.
The site which the Advocate.com stole the information from is called the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.
I personally spoke to people at the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh (I try to check out sources).
They informed me that they were upset that the Advocate “stole” it from them without permission and told me that since they it was only hearsay from people who were not even present at the Synagogue, they immediately deleted the”fake news” from their site.
However, that did not stop a great portion of the Orthodox community from believing this “fake-news” as if it was Torah M’Sinai and debating and deliberating how to respond to this “fact.”
Not one Jewish news site (until many days later) ever questioned the veracity of the story.
What the New York Times knew was a hoax was believed by the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews.
We, who are supposed to be skeptical and analytical, were duped by a gay website whose story was promulgated by a rabbi who claims Hashem speaks to him and a few of his like-minded cohorts.
We must Klap Al Chet!
How could we believe this Motzei Shem Ra without researching the issue thoroughly?
Why were we so gullible to believe that which the mainstream media rejected outright?
The total unquestioning acceptance of the “Fake-New” of the Bris Milah by the Gay Couple was so widely believed – (notwithstanding, anyone could have called the rabbi of Tree of Life and asked him) that many rabbis to wrangle and debate what is the proper phraseology to classify the murdered victims.
Imagine how much time was wasted simply because an outright Sheker was promulgated and accepted at face value!
All of this was based on the acceptance of Motzei Shel Ra.
Oy, if only we would have listened to the Chofetz Chaim, so much heartache could have been avoided. So many children would not be left questioning why Jews who were killed should not be mourned.
If people would have been a little skeptical and little less believing of the internet, this entire Chilul Hashem could have been avoided.
Alas, that was not the case. For even those who were outraged by the rabbi’s comment never questioned his authenticity.
How ironic that we who attempt to filter the bad from the good, allowed the dark side of the internet to bamboozle us into believing that which never occurred.
This is another reason for sadness.
Part Four: The Rabbi
Nevertheless, the statement made by the rabbi, “I’m not sorry for this disaster” was certainly a tremendous Chilul Hashem.
Even if the Bris did take place- which it didn’t- it was a sad day for the Jewish people when a rabbi says, “I’m not sorry for this disaster.”
How much greater is the Chilul Hashem when we realize the information he was disseminating to the world was completely false, an example of fake news and nothing more than Motzei Shem Ra.
If not for this rabbi and his son who peruses the internet, how many of us would have ever looked at the gay website the Adocate.com.
Not only was the information wrong, if not for the rabbi, no one would have even heard about it!
Who of us ever even heard of the website Advocate.com.?
Nevertheless, excluding the rabbi’s so-called visitations from Hashem and besides the tragedy that so many well-meaning and respected Jews assumed the claim was true-
His claims of having “Ruach HaKodesh” and knowing the reason why Hashem does what He does, is a very, very, dangerous and non-normative approach to Judaism.
The Navi unequivocally states, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord (Isaiah55:8).
Another reason to Klap Kal Al Chet: claiming you know how and why Hashem acts.
Part 5: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Although so far we have discussed the inappropriate words of the rabbi, and the Chilull Hashem they caused, and the danger in claiming to know Hashem’s ways and His inexplicable actions; we have also questioned how the rabbi himself and most of the Orthodox world could be so naïve as to take at face value “fake-news” from The Advoate.com
These two reasons certainly created a Chillul Hashem and caused a terribly sad day for the Jewish people.
I would like to now turn my attention to the positive and inspiring actions taken by more credible people.
Thankfully, there was a glimmer of light in the midst of the darkness.
Agudas Yisroel of America led by the esteemed and venerable Rabbi Yaacov Perlow shlita– immediately released a statement which unequivocally classified the victims as Kedoshim.
Irrespective of who or what they are.
Rabbi Perlow referenced the Rashi in Tehillim (79:2) where the passuk states:                 “They have given the corpses of Your servants as food to the birds of the heaven, the flesh of Your pious ones to the beasts of the earth.”
Rashi- as Rav Perlow Shlita pointed out, asks, “The flesh of Your pious ones? Were they not wicked? How can they be pious ones (Chasidim).?”
Rashi answers “But since they received their punishment, they are accounted as pious (Chasidim)”
Meaning, even if a Jew is guilty of all the three cardinal sins which were committed by the generation of the first Beis HaMikdash and caused its destruction, nevertheless, once they are punished they become “Chassidim.”
Perhaps you think that there are differing opinions?
Perhaps this is a minority opinion?
Let’s turn to our the great Torah leaders of the past generation.
Certainly, they can give us the clarity which we so desperately need.
For many years, Klal Yisroel had at its helm the great Gaon and Tzadik, a man who was never known to take a liberal or “modern” opinion of things- HaRav Elazar Menachem Man Shach ZT”l.
Consider what this giant of Judaism writes in his classic Michtavim U’Mamarimm (Chelek Gimmel, Siman 25): “One who is killed by the nations of the world for the sole reason that he is a Jew is to be considered as if he died sanctifying Hashem’s name (Al Kiddush Hashem), and our sages (Chazal) said about such a person, “No person has the merit to stand in his/her presence” (Bava Basra 10).”
On page 86 of the same volume, Rav Shach ZT”l refers to anyone who was killed because he was a Jew with the moniker: Kedoshim.
He does not clarify his statement by saying, “unless they were a gay couple adopting a child”.
Let’s repeat the words of the Gadol HaDor HaRav Shach Zt” L, “One who is killed by the nations of the world for the sole reason that he is a Jew is to be considered as if he died Sanctifying Hashem’s name Al Kiddush Hashem.”
Please don’t take my word–Please get the Sefer and look it up yourself.
Don’t trust me.  Please go look it up.
If the Agudas Yisroel of America, guided and run by the Torah giants of our generation, refers to the Pittsburgh Massacre victims as Kedoshim and Rav Shach, a man not known to be hasty or irresponsible with his words, also considers anyone killed because they are a Jew as a Kadosh– how can anyone anyone among us have the audacity to argue?
I have been to many siyum haShas celebrations, and the Kel Maleh recited always referred to the Six Million as Kedoshim. No one ever said, “except for those who were Conservative Jews or except for those who were gay.”
Perhaps, you are still not convinced…. well seeing is believing.
Below I present to you a clip of the last Kenessiah Gedolah of the World Agudas Yisroel movement which was held in Yerushalayim in 1980.
It shows the Chazzan reciting the Kel Maleh Rachamim for all those who have left this world.
The Chazzan mentions, Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshivos, Admorim AND… the soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces who gave their life for the Jewish people.
See with your own eyes who is standing with reverence and intense emotion:
HaRav Elazar Menachem Man Shach ZT”l, who gave the opening address;
The Gerrer Rebbe – The Lev Simcha Zt”L:
 HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zt”l;
 HaRav Yaakov Kaminetzsky Zt”l;
HaRav Yaakov Ruderman Zt”l;
HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zt”l;
 The Vischntzer Rebbe Zt”l;
The Slonimer Rebbe ZtL
The Biala Rebbe Zt”l.
I have no doubt that many of the soldiers of the IDF, unfortunately, never entered a shul of any kind. Nevertheless, all of these true giants of Judaism were present and stood reverently as the Chazzan said, “In Gan Eden shall they (The IDF soldiers) rest.”
Are these not the great Torah leaders we should follow.
Here is a link to the clip- the soldiers are mentioned at the very end. https://www.kikar.co.il/abroad/199007.html
Part 6: The Complete Picture of How the Venom Spreads and Who is really Utilizing the Internet to Spread Hate?
What is equally disturbing to  the absurdity of supposedly responsible people believing in fake news as if it was Torah M’Sinai is the very medium which these “radical rabbis” condemn – namely the internet -is precisely their preferred choice of medium to disseminate their hatred and their vile “fake news.”
Without the power of the internet, these demagogic figures would be powerless.
It is ironic that the very thing they demonize is their weapon of choice to spread their hate.
The audacity of the rabbi as he announces, (before he tells us Hashem revealed to him “fake news”) that he is delivering “ A State of the Union” address is mind-boggling, yet, reveals to us that he is totally cognizant that he is speaking to the entire world via a corrupted internet.
He and other demagogues who spread Sinas Chinam with an intensity never before seen, utilize that which is often the very target of their wrath-the internet- as their weapon of choice to spread their hate-filled messages.
Without the internet, without WhatsApp, without email, and without Facebook, which these speakers are very adept in utilizing, these so-called “scholars” would be relegated to the dustbin of rabbinic opinion.
How ironic is it that the very people who demonize the internet, totally rely on it to spread their hate-filled rhetoric?
And who are their most unsuspecting victims?
Our children.
I spoke to the principals of some major high schools and they all told me that the hate message spread like wildfire among the high-school students, both boys, and girls.
What type of respect can we expect our young people to have for rabbinic leadership if messages such as these go viral?
These demagogic, rabble-rousing, hate mongers seem to compete with each other as to who can say the most outrageous comment, playing “can you top this” with regard to who will win “the most brazen and disgraceful comment of the week award.”
This is a total imitation of the secular media where, as quoted in NY Times, “Outrage often starts as shock, disbelief, surprise. Then comes the moment of indignation, when the injustice strikes you not only as unfair but also as having crossed a new boundary, reached some new low.”
So too, these scurrilous speakers spread their venomous messages over the putrid portals of the internet and vie with each other for saying the most shocking and scurrilous smut.
Part 7: Conclusion and Lessons to be Learned
What is the answer?
  • Avoid watching and listening to the vile messages of hate.
  • Stop forwarding these messages when we receive them and if necessary block the sender.
  • Most importantly, we must listen to our genuine and bona fide Gedolei Yisroel.
You can start right now.
There is a great Jew in Far Rockaway named Rav Yaakov Bender Shlita.
He is a person who is worthy to listen to and to emulate.
I will not say a word more.
You will make your own decision.
I just ask you to watch the two videos which are attached.
Please watch them in the order they are posted.
After watching them, ask yourself, who do you want to follow?
The rabbi who claims Hashem tells him “fake news” or Rav Yaakov Bender Shlita?
I think the decision is clear.
May Hashem have rachmanus (mercy) on all of us.
Especially let us daven for the rabbi who thinks he has Ruach HaKodesh that Hashem should truly show him the light.
Better yet, let us daven that he should be privileged to be influenced and learn Torah from Rav Yaakov Bender Shlita.
Thank you for allowing me to share.
With love, pain, and tears…..
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